As Jesus went to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood at a distance. They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Luke 17:11-13
I find it of interest that the United States Senate seating is configured so that Republicans are on one side of the aisle, and Democrats on the other. Of course, we know that there is a large gulf between the two parties, policy wise, but there is also a physical distance between the Senators, marked by an aisle. The expression “across the aisle” is both a literal and figurative distance that, these days, seems to be more like a canyon than an aisle.
I heard recently that, based upon a video study comparison over a number of years, there is actually dramatically less physical crossing of the aisle than there has been in decades. The Senators literally keep their distance from one another. They don’t seem to talk across the aisle much anymore. We know that the more we separate from those we really don’t know, the less chance we have of developing a relationship, and getting to really know the other person. Lack of contact leads to reliance upon assumptions and stereotypes to define the “other”.
This is a problem. Not only for our Senators, but for anyone who really does not know the unknown individual who is seen as different, and therefore, possibly dangerous. Such tribal thinking is endemic to human nature, and it evolved for a reason. However, failing to challenge those stereotypes and assumptions can be very harmful, for both parties.
To the extent that our Senators do not interact with one another, we all suffer. There was a time when it was not this bad. I think it is now very bad.
We are, as a nation, suffering from serious problems- problems which could bring us together. I think to the Bible story of the ten lepers who banded together when they were in trouble and they needed help.
Tomorrow, I will talk about their situation.
Prayer: Lord, you created us to be connected to one another and to you. Help us to find ways to honor your plan, Amen