Ahoy Me Maties!!!! Batten down the hatches, keep a firm hand on the tiller and a keen eye on the compass. It is easy to go astray with all the craziness a blowen around. Perspective is sorely needed to keep from being thrown off course or hulled on the rocks. Pete received a novel picture Sunday as he walked and prayed. God gave some clarity through an animated story.
Consider the movie Wall-E. It is a story about a small garbage robot. It(he) has been left on earth to clean up a city after the world has been abandoned by humans. For years Wall-E has been diligent to practice his programing. Later in the movie Wall E ends up on a “cruise liner” spaceship full of humans. He tries to connect with a fancy “girl” robot and rescue a plant. In addition, there is an interesting side story that caught Pete’s eye.
On the cruise ship, Wall-E is a grubby presence leaving foreign particles wherever he goes. A “neat freak” robot is seen cleaning up the residue that Wall-E leaves behind. While, Wall E is trying to save the plant, the other robot is trying to keep things clean. Pete was struck by the necessary conflict. Left unattended Wall-E would have infected and messed the whole ship. He needed to move to get things done. On the other hand, the cleaning robot would have preferred that nothing moved so everything would stay clean. Both views are necessary.
Think of it in another way. There needs to be balance and cooperation or life becomes impossible. For example, what if the task of clean clothes became the overriding core value of the family home? Keeping clothes clean would then be the driving priority. Eventually families would refrain from work and play as both would cause clothes to get dirty. Normal life would cease. If you forget clothes are made to wear and get dirty and that washers are to make them clean again then life gets out of whack.
COVID 19 is a good example of this. A schoolteacher at a volleyball tournament vented their frustrations with people who would not wear their masks. Consider the issues. Laws/guidelines have been set for schools. Teachers and administrators are faithfully and frantically trying to follow those rules to keep the schools open, to keep sporting events happening and to keep the education of our children possible. The situation dictates certain behaviors, or the school will be shut down. Closing schools would result in many hardships to families. Others see that the guidelines/laws as controlling, inconsistent and ineffective. They see the “powers to be” trying to force them into boxes they do not want to go. They resist by not complying. Noncompliance at school events risks shutting down the school. So, who is right? Which side is in the right and which is wrong? Do we not need some perspective on the value of each? The view that it is “my way or the highway” will destroy us. We need each other.
Scripture addresses this issue directly. Paul writes in I Corinthians 12 about how the church works. He uses the example of our physical body. Our bodies are made up of different parts. No one part is the most important. The body can not be only eyes or feet or lungs. Each are vital. In the family of God, we are instructed that each person is critical in the functioning of the whole. God designed us to work and live together. So, in this storm, step back. Those holding a different view than you are not the enemy. They are part of the whole. They have a different part to play.
Medical safety is important. But taken to the extreme we would have to live in sterile cubicles to be completely safe. Likewise, being free to do whatever we want is dangerous. We can easily cross the line of respect for others and put people at risk. The church needs to take the lead by living in unity rather than demonizing our differences. I am not saying that nothing matters. What I am saying is Jesus called you and me to be one body using our gifted differences for the growth and health of the whole. It is not a matter of getting your way, it is about giving yours away. You have a vital part to contribute. Give it. Equally, humbly consider that you cannot do it alone. You need everybody else. Those most different from you are just as vital to the health of the whole as you are. Step back and reconsider from Christ’s perspective. You are part of something much bigger. Give your all and extend grace to others. We are in this for the long haul.