Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #42
October 24, 2022
Reflections on “Us” Vs. “Them”
Every Thursday morning you can find me in places around town handing out lunches to day laborers who come to town for work. In conjunction with another congregation we make the lunches on Wednesday and distribute them on Thursday. Never in my life have I seen such grateful looks from the recipients. You would think that we were giving these men a million dollars. Some start eating immediately making me wonder when was the last time that they ate. I usually give such people a second lunch.
The week after hurricane Ian struck Florida a man in a pickup truck saw us distributing lunches, rolled down his window and began yelling. “Why are you giving them lunches? Give them to Americans. Do you know how many people in Florida are hurting?”
I struggled not to get angry, smiled at him and asked, “will you help us pack supplies for Florida?”
He sped off, nearly hitting me in the process. I was grateful to be a few feet away from his truck. As scared as I was from a near collision, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for he, or anyone else, who saw the world in terms of “them” and “us.” I knew such people in my neighborhood when I was growing up. They tended to be very lonely people.
Depending on to whom I am speaking, the definitions of “us” and “them” changes. “They” can be people of different race or possibly a different ethnic group. Maybe “they” are a of a different political party or a different economic group or age strata. Many people create these definitions, or get taught them as children from their elders. Either way such definitions restrict the experiences and relationships that we can potentially have with newcomers who have a lot of gifts to share.
I celebrate others and can’t wait till all the others are “us.” I worship Jesus Christ, who went out of his way to show that there was no “us” or “them” but only “us.” When we read the Bible stories of Jesus he seemed to go out of his was to reach out to the marginalized, the shunned and the estranged with the intention of drawing them into the circle of “us.”
I am hoping that God’s Spirit descends on our whole country and ends some of this us vs. them thinking. I am hoping that people of good will lead by example in ending the divisions that stand between us and begins to make the whole country “us.” We have a lot to learn from one another and a lot of gifts and blessing to share with each other but we will never gain those benefits as long as we see the world as “us” and “them.”
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book: