Driving down the highways either going to Council Bluffs or Atlantic I couldn’t help but notice streaks of prairie gold entering the bean fields. I also noticed some corn leaves are already turning color and corn stocks are turning to that getting ready for harvest tan. Soon the fields will be covered in earth tones and the trees will be a spectacular backdrop with their oranges, reds and yellows. Many say this is the best time of year and I can’t disagree.
Speaking of colors in one of the communities I was fortunate to serve they had a tractor club. The head of this tractor club loved Minneapolis-Moline tractors and thought that the club should be named the Prairie Gold tractor club. That did not sit well with the people who had John Deere’s, or McCormick’s, or Oliver’s or anything else that was considered a tractor.
So after some serious disagreement and some conflicted and heated debate they decided on a name for their tractor club. It is now known as the No Color Tractor Club! In other words, we don’t care what color your tractor is we just love tractors so bring your tractor and join us.
Our community has lots of colors in it and I just don’t mean skin tones. We have different ideas on religion, politics and justice issues. Our different social and cultural backgrounds bring different languages that paint our daily lives into sometimes unique experiences. Many times, those experiences create conversations that we may like or don’t like. I think it was Voltaire who said, “I may disagree with what you say, but I would die for the right for you to say it!”
In the last couple of months our values and tolerance of others and what they are doing has been tested. Charlottesville with its torch light parade that brought reminders of the many NAZI torch light parades in the 1930’s. While the Charlottesville protesters marched they shouted anti-Semitic slogans as they surrounded a church with people praying inside. That crosses a line for me.
But when a group of people who represent something that I do not like, get a permit for a lawful assembly to talk about what they believe in and exercise their first
amendment right without violence that is their freedom whether I like it or not.
My hope is that we remember the world is filled with all sorts of colors and we are just one part of that prism. Who you choose to be will represent the color you are! But no matter what color you are God loves you and loves the person just as much who is on the opposite side of the conversation. The reality is that God loves them with the same desire to grant that person the same vision and dreams that God has for you and me.
When we are unlovable we are still loved and when we are unlovable God does not give up on anyone! So as the old 60’s song “Get Together” by the Youngbloods says,
Fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
See you Sunday,
Rev. Dennis Hopes