I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves.

Etty Hilesum, in An Interrupted Life

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These are the words of Etty Hilesum, a young Jewish girl who engaged Christ while awaiting her death at Auschwitz.

She lived in the chaos of godlessness, created by hostility to God.  She suffered the satanic violence that is the product of love’s absence, its rejection, its exile, its banishment.

As I look at the world today and our nation as well, I think: How can we be better?  How can we live well, in peace and with kindness and understanding?

For the Christian, I come to this answer: Live your Baptism, for the stakes are high and getting higher everyday.

What am I saying?

At Baptism you are initiated into the mystery of Love – the God who is Love. Just as Baptism is the cornerstone of our faith adventure, so is it that Love must be evidenced in that primary and central way.

It is no exaggeration to say that evil and violence and chaos are visibly present in our nation and in the world today.  Love is its only counterweight, its only response.  This we know in Christ, and we are Christians.

Baptism is to be lived out each day.  To do so in our secular culture whose message is so prevalent in mass communication – ask yourself this: Is what I hear communicated echoing the words of Christ?  Of love?  Understanding? Community? Kindness?

Or do I hear despair?  Hatred?  Racism?  Antagonism?  Envy? Division? Discord?  Disorder?  Self-promotion? Selfishness?

You have the opportunity as a baptized Christian to live each day as Christ, with Christ.

We are presently far afield of Christ-like living.

Our political voices are the prime agents of that treacherous distance.  Too many in politics breed envy, and division. Virtually none seem versed in faith.  Most place their confidence in the dubious notion of their own “genius.”  They ignore this: their limitations and lack of humility.

If this nation will know its better self, it will be when it returns to God.  If it does not, it will cease to be.

Pray that we might begin to live as we are baptized to live.  Let it start with me and with you.

Shalom.

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