Disappearing Differences

North Shore Scenic Railroad, Duluth Minnesota September 28, 2021

Last week, the Amtrak Empire Builder heading from Chicago to Seattle derailed in Montana. Tragically, killing three people while others were injured. Residents of that small Montana community responded immediately. People with emergency titles behind their names and those who didn’t . . . all scrambled to get people to safety and the injured to medical care.

What strikes me in this and in other moments of disaster, is how quickly our differences disappear. Common humanity kicks in. When faced with up-front human suffering, we tend to lean into our better nature. We instinctively want to do what we can for people who are traumatized.

A car goes into a pond, and bystanders jump in to rescue those inside. Wildfires bring widespread destruction, and volunteers head to relief centers to provide food. A dike fails and boaters begin  searching for  those in danger. In moments of tragedy and acute danger we don’t pay attention to who a person voted for, the culture they come from, or any of ism’s that we draw lines around.

Contrast that with School Board Meetings across the country, where board member are routinely vilified, shouted down and even threatened with death.   In our Covid era, School Board members are resigning, unable to deal with the anger and resentment of policies they are putting in place to protect children. 

So, I wonder why it is that we can forget for a few minutes, our divisions during a train wreck, but not when we advocate our positions? I wonder what it would take for us to daily lay down our weapons, our verbal swords, our smoldering social media rage,  and begin to see each person we meet through the eyes of God.  I can’t help but believe, our world would be a better place.   A place where people who disagree can begin to hear each other and in the hearing, find common ground.

“Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation.”  I Peter 2:1-2

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters.” James 4:11