As a lifelong member of a host of church choirs, I’ve heard quite a few sermons. Every purveyor of the Word has a different style of delivery and vehicle for getting messages across. The one that tends to work best for me is when a mixture of today’s examples and what ancient writers noted in the Bible is utilized. It’s always amazing how relevant those long-ago authors’ words are to modern-day instances.

To illustrate my point, this past Sunday, the minister at our church started off by talking about the NFL Pro Bowl that was to take place that afternoon. It’s basically the All-Star Game for professionals without the Super Bowl participants playing (who don’t want to risk injury before the Big Game). He talked about the fact that for one day only, all the players from the National Conference of the League go up against those from the American Conference. One team wears a certain color jersey, the other dons a different color. But each member of those respective teams still wears his regular team’s helmet. Doing so signifies that the players belong to an individual team even though they’re playing together as one for this particular game. The usual abject hatred between say, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers is put aside briefly while representatives from those two teams play for the same conference. Everything reverts to normal on Monday. Loyalty to a common good only lasts for a short while.

The pastor likened the Pro Bowl participants to the early Christians. The apostle Paul spent a lot of time trying to convince the new followers of Christ that they needed to not be so loyal to one of the prominent individual leaders of the nascent movement, but to look to a loftier team to play for.

Now, what made this message so relevant to me really is what came next. The minister did a great job of shifting gears and bringing up the current impeachment imbroglio. He deftly avoided taking sides (very wise man), but instead pointed out that this rift that has split the country again is not what We the People do best. (These are my paraphrases. He said it a lot better than me.) We really all just want what’s best for our country. Some people obviously think that means getting a new leader at all costs. Others believe the right person is already in place, so back off, buckaroo.

What I believe the pastor was trying to tell us is that, just as in the days of Paul, we need to listen to each other. And respect each other. There are always going to be differences of opinion on virtually every topic and every person holding public office. But what we can agree on usually far outweighs what we can’t.

I’m sure everyone reading this has a friend, family member, fellow worker, etc., who perhaps doesn’t quite share his or her own feelings on the current president. There are lifelong friends of mine (truly lifelong ... I’ve literally known them from birth) who don’t share my own views. Yet when we’re together, we try very hard to laugh, sing, play, sing some more, and really enjoy each other’s company. (And we succeed.) What I usually try to focus on in this space are the foibles and frivolities incumbent on those in the public eye. (There is rarely, if ever, a dearth of fodder from which to choose.) Unfortunately, what’s going on right now in Washington is no laughing matter, although I will say some of the actions and individual participants on both sides are ridiculously silly.

I’m very hopeful that once this current folderol is over, no matter how it turns out, we can all get back to being a somewhat united country, in that we all want good things for every American. If history is any indication, it has often taken an act of war to bring us together. Only a few extremists would wish that upon us.

Maybe we could all just take a pledge to move on. Nobody’s going to actually win. One side isn’t “correcter” than the other. Let’s learn from this. As the minister pointed out, Paul tried his best to rally the troops (again, my words) for the common good. Can we please do the same? It might help if we universally admitted that one side of the political realm has not cornered the market on caterwauling clowns. There are plenty of those to go around on both sides of the aisle.

Think it’ll work?

Might be worth a try.

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.

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