Archive for June 2nd, 2021

Fatal Divisions


Written by John Mogabgab (1946-2014), a theologian, teacher, and author.

To be immersed in the world means also to suffer fatal divisions between human beings. The self that is severed from its inborn connection with God readily becomes a “heart turned in upon itself.” If the “divided self” characterizes our inner life, the “heart turned in upon itself” is a telling image of our alienation from one another. The self-seeking conveyed by Augustine’s phrase fills our field of vision with the shapes of our own desires, eclipsing the profile of our neighbor’s need. The “heart turned in upon itself” isolates us because it conceives of self-fulfillment in individual terms. It will not acknowledge that our truest fulfillment is found only within the texture of mutuality God has chosen for authentic human life.  It is difficult to imagine how greatly our immersion in the world pains God. This is not the pain of a regent disobeyed but the anguish of a loving parent spurned by a child in desperate want. We glimpse a vivid portrait of this divine passion in Psalm 81. After recounting the chapters of Israel’s faithlessness in the wilderness, a voice still unknown to the psalmist utters this remarkable lament, “O that my people would heed me, that Israel would walk in my ways!” Here is the heart’s desire of our God, and the wellspring of that reconciling love that would gather into one new creation all the scattered, shattered creatures so treasured by their Creator. As we are awakened to the ingathering love of God, the brokenness that divides us from ourselves and others begins to mend.


This prayer is a traditional Scottish blessing.

If there is righteousness in the heart,

there will be beauty in the character.

If there is beauty in the character,

there will be harmony in the home.

If there is harmony in the home,

there will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation,

there will be peace in the world. So let it be.  Amen.

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