My writing, and all my work, is generally about creativity, spirituality and identity. Those are the areas I’m passionate about, and those are where I can use my gifts best. And in one sense this is tied into all of those topics, though on the surface, it may not seem so.
I’ve not seen my country so divided as it’s been over the last few weeks – and even more so since Thursday.
There are divisions on nationality, age, politics, more than ever before. As Britain voted to leave the European Union, it created a rupture in our culture which would break the richter scale. It’s one of those inciting incidents in our culture. A moment that once you’ve passed, you cannot go back from.
And we’re still feeling the shockwaves.
As I travelled to work on Friday morning, there was a palpable heaviness around. A weight, a despondence, a feeling of despair and hopelessness all around I’d never seen nor felt before. The large proportion of London voted to remain, and as it was clear the result was leave, the weight of that seemed to be bearing down on all of us.
This whole campaign and it’s aftermath has created division, fear, bitterness and even hatred. People on both sides on the end of some awful treatment and accusations. It’s brought out the worst in us all. I’m ashamed to say, even in me. People feeling strongly, making comments on social media, and arguments between friends and even relatives.
And it’s awful.
Because I’m so much better. And we’re all so much better.
A similar feeling has been running through American culture, with the rise of Donald Trump, and the divisions over the gun ownership issue, in the wake of Orlando.
There is so much fear, division, bitterness and hatred around right now.
But I don’t want to live in a world where people are arguing, fighting, dividing, casting insults, a world dictated by fear. I also don’t want to participate in creating that kind of world.
That’s not how things were created to be. It’s not how the world can be. It’s not humanity at it’s best.
And although it’s all around us, we don’t have to let it dictate to us. We don’t have to live in obedience to it. We don’t have to participate in it. I don’t want to anymore. I just don’t like who I become when I do.
Yes, it’s right to be angry about the consequences of this result. Many lies were told to bring us to this, and lots of people are suffering as a result. That pain, that anger, that grief, demands to be felt and expressed.
But we can’t stay in that place. Because hurt can easily turn into hate. Ulitmately, we need to find hope again.
A Reason To Hope
Which brings me to Jason Donovan.
There was a song he sang, back in his 80’s heyday as a pop star, and it’s lyrics perfectly capture to me what is most important right now, the sentiment I want to invoke. A message which God might want to say to us now:
“With love to guide us, nothing can divide us”
It says it all to me.
It’s cheesy, it’s corny. It’s even hippie.
But it’s absolutely nailed on.
Love has to win here. I want to help create a world, in all the ways that I can, that is one of inclusion, diversity, cooperation, respect, forgiveness, and above all, love. A world where we can have disagreements but still love and respect each other. A world where however bad things are, we don’t give in to the division and fear around us.
We need to be reminded of the words of Jesus Himself:
Love one another. Love your neighbour. Love your enemy. Be each others servant. We need to heed those words more than ever.
And yes, it’s hard work. We won’t always get it right either – and that’s fine. We’re all imperfect, we all screw up, life can suck at times. The point is trying. It’s about being intentional.
Believe it or not, we have the power to create the world we want. In our own little ways, with the people we know, see and interact with. Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but we can change our part of the world. (you can tweet that)
And if everyone does that, then, in time, the world becomes a little lighter. More hopeful. More loving. Even in the midst of difficult times, we find something to hold on to.
So that’s my plan. And I invite you to join me in this.
Let’s reach out to the people we’ve been dividing with, and accept we disagree, and move beyond this. If we don’t, we’re just being dragged down into fear and the worst of ourselves. The more we delve into fear, the worse things will become.
Let’s create a better world. Let’s not let fear defeat us.
So watch this cheesy pop video, have a laugh, and heed it’s cheesy but powerful refrain.
In it’s time to let love guide us – and then nothing can divide us.
Question for Reflection
What can you do today to bring unity, love & hope to your part of the world?
Let me know in the comments below!
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(Picture Sources: James Prescott / Wordswag)