Chain Reactions: Conflict, Frontiers, and Barriers — John 15:9-17 — May 10, 2015


I once lived in an area that called itself, “Frontier Country”.  That name referred to the history of confrontation there.  I wondered why the inhabitants didn’t choose a new and different identity for their signboards which repeated that title of “Frontier Country”. It’s not only social groups, but also families that sometimes slip into conflict, and sometimes, toward a kind of grim civil war which endures from generation to generation.   The barriers go up.  An enduring state of civil war is grim in any nation – Syria, Iraq, Europe, Britain, the USA, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central America, or anywhere else.

On the other hand, there are those who reach out across barriers.  They build community.  One example is Doctors without Borders.  Hospice workers are also exemplary;  then, those who bring food to those who are hungry, including “God’s Love We Deliver”.

Another example is St Augustine who was urged by Gregory I ‘The Great’ to leave behind his monastery in Rome.  Gregory urged him to go to wild and warring Britain in 595 AD. It was evidently a tough step for St Augustine, but we all benefited immensely from his commitment.  He was designated Archbishop of Canterbury in 597 AD.   Augustine is one more example of the way that God’s love, received and shared, results in much fruit.

Let us all take a moment to ask us what is the frontier across which God’s love is sending us.  It may well be difficult, but it may well be where God is sending us, to interrupt a chain reaction of conflict and division, and to set up a chain reaction of love.

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