Hal Brady

Hal Brady

Some years ago in the north, a little girl was lost in the woods. It was wintertime, snowing, sleeting, and bitterly cold. Hundreds of people combed the forest, desperately searching for the little girl. Time was of the essence. They knew she couldn’t survive long in that freezing weather. For hours they looked, but no luck. Finally, the searchers came up with the idea of joining hands, so that they could walk through the forest in a single line.

They tried it, and in less than 15 minutes they found her! But it was too late. She had died from cold and exposure.

In the hush of that awful moment, someone said, “Why, oh why didn’t we join hands sooner?”

That’s a good question to ask in light of a number of the world’s ills. Why, oh why didn’t we join hands sooner?”

But perhaps it’s a more pertinent question to ask in today’s world, “Why, oh why don’t we join hands now?”

...in together, asking for guidance, direction, justice and healing for our nation. Speaking for God, the writer of II Chronicles states: “If my people who are called by name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin and heal their land” (7:14). Our part is to humble ourselves, pray and give up thoughtless ways.

Prayer is God’s vehicle by which He advances His will. It’s also God’s adventure of blessing into our lives, communities and nation.

...in actively ensuring justice, dignity and respect for all people of color! The late Dr. William Sloane Coffin, one time minister of Riverside Church, New York, expressed it accurately when he declared, “I said God leads with a light rein, giving us our head. But God gave us our heads to use; cool heads at the service of warm hearts to design a better common life. I think it fair to say that we human beings have created a world for some of us. It’s time now to create a world for all of us.” Enough said!

...in seeking unbiased news reporting! If you are aware of media news reports at all, it is fairly obvious that news reporting, which is intended to create dialogue among the citizenry about the issues, in some instances has gone awry. So much news reporting today seems to be slanted toward the benefit of one political party or another or one political candidate or another. Sadly, the result is that the whole story is not heard, divisiveness is increased, the citizenry is misled and real news is difficult to discern.

...in practicing kindness in our response to those with whom we disagree! Columnist Sidney Harris tells of going with a friend to a newsstand. His friend gave the news person a friendly greeting, But in return, he got poor and discourteous service. Nevertheless, his friend accepted the newspaper, smiled and wished the news person a special weekend. As the two of them walked away from the newsstand, Harris asked his friend, “Does he always treat you like that?”

“Always. The same every day.”

“Well, are you always friendly and nice to him?”

“Yes, I am.”

“But why, when he treats you so badly?”

“Because,” said the friend, “I don’t want him to decide how I’m going to act.”

...in keeping a balanced approach to our appreciation of country!

Most of us are grateful for our nation and for those founders who believed in God and established this nation in freedom on their faith in God.

However, it is with regret and repentance that we ask forgiveness for our neglect of those who have suffered injustice because of the lack of sight by the founders and/or by us.

...in understanding history as historian David McCullough does! Mr. McCullough states,”You have to know what people have been through to understand what people want and what they don’t want. That’s the nub of it. And what people have been through is what we call history.”

...in striving for unity in our exciting diversity! We are all created in the image of God. Because of that, God’s dream is that we be brothers and sisters, one family. And we know that brothers and sisters don’t always agree but they are always brothers and sisters.

Why, oh why don’t we join hands now? That is the real question!

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The Rev. Hal Brady is an ordained United Methodist minister and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries, based in Atlanta. You can watch him preach every week on the Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters TV channel Thursdays at 8 p.m.

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