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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Today's Hymn            

O come, Desire of nations, bind
all peoples in one heart and mind;
bid envy, strife, and discord cease;
fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (tune: Veni Emmanuel)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

“Bind all people in one heart and one mind.” How in the world is that going to happen? “All peoples” means all partners, all family members, all congregants, all co-workers, all citizens of a city, a state, a nation, all sexual orientations, all political parties, all religions, all cultures, all races, all nations. I feel myself getting defensive. The bar is too high; it’s beyond reach, and it’s a pipe dream. I don’t like to fail, to be intimidated, to give in, to feel inadequate, and I experience all of these reactions if I embrace this goal. I can’t do this; my ego won’t allow it. How about if we just sing the song and not think about it?

Emmanuel means God with us, and with God is the only way I can start to work on my resistance to being one with all of God’s other creations. Richard Rohr helps me know where to begin when he observes:

Wholeness doesn’t really overcome the problem, but holds it and transforms it as Jesus did on the cross. . . . Wholeness holds you. You can’t figure this out ahead of time or fully choose this wholeness; you fall into it when you stop excluding. And you are changed in the process. Everything belongs, even the “bad” and dark parts of yourself. Nothing need be rejected or denied. No one need be hated. . . . . You don’t have time for that anymore. You’ve entered into the soul of the serene disciple where, because the Holy One has become one in you, you are able to see that oneness everywhere else. (

Emmanuel! O God, be with me as I seek to stop excluding. Help me find oneness with you and all creation and be an instrument of peace. Amen.

Written by Thomas Schemper, Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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