It’s an old and established axiom for those in public relations and marketing that, “sex sells.” Even using that phrase at the outset of this devotion is likely to increase the engagement of readers for this very piece. There’s something else that “sells” just as well or better and it’s a trap we fall into, seemingly without fail. And now that I have your attention and have you wondering what could be so attention-grabbing, I suspect you’re much more likely to continue reading…
The global media machines and the social networks that exist in the modern ecosphere of 24-hour news cycles have proven that hardly anything sells as well as “division.” The challenges we humans face tend to always be spoken of in terms of competing sides. And naturally, each of us is compelled to pick a side. To get our attention then, all anyone must do is appeal to our innate desires to either be for or against whatever the topic might be. As long as the marketers keep the “division” front and center, then we just won’t look away.
It’s no surprise that a two-party political system, when fueled by profit-seeking media apparatuses, would take “division” to the extremes now defining our world. How else can we explain that arenas, previously absent from politics, have become the battlegrounds on which people are waging very real wars? That the science of public health has never before been questioned as it is today is one sadly poignant example of this phenomenon. Objective truths, previously held sacrosanct, have become strangely doubted and now belong only to one side or the other.
What other examples of the selling power of “division” would you name today? Where have you found yourself surprisingly being asked to take a side? Who have you been disappointed to discover on the other side? Certainly, this is not what God’s vision for the world would hold, is it?
This Sunday, we will hear from the prophet Amos, and he too speaks into a divided world. In Amos’ time (just as with Elijah last week), the country was split in two. And it showed. God’s people had totally lost sight of God’s vision and they were only concerned with their respective “sides.” God’s people became so entrenched in the task of fighting amongst themselves, they couldn’t see the even larger threats that loomed just beyond their borders. But boy, were they ever passionate about their concerns for their own sides.
This Sunday is also Commitment Sunday for Prince of Peace. As we prepare to make our pledges of support for God’s church for the coming year, let’s first consider we are being called into God’s unifying promises. May the divisions that draw viewers, lure in clicks, and perpetuate discord for political and economic gain not detract from what truly can and should enflame our passions, God’s love for us and the world.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray,
Unifying God, draws us together and ever more deeply into your vision. Help us to not fall into the trap of divisions sewn to destroy what you have entrusted to our care. Give us the courage to look beyond our needs so that we might share your love with the world. Amen.