God wants us all to be brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, 7/21/15

Jesus, pointed to one and all around him, saying, “Here are my mother and brothers.” We can take that to mean that above all else, God wants us to see all men and women to be his children, and brother and sister to one another.

We can see the history of religion as a one in which people have progressed towards  loving strangers. We see the sad beginning of that history in Chapter Four of Genesis. There, Cain’s sin had banished him from his family, making him a stranger on the face of the earth, so he said, “Anyone may kill me at sight.”

Back when there were no governments, no laws, or enforcers. When two tribes wanted the same grazing land or the same streams, they could either waste lives fighting for possession, or they could arrange a covenant ceremony.

Genesis gives us a vivid picture of how such covenant ceremonies were conducted. The two tribes would gather in the wooded areas on the opposite sides of an open field. Then, young men from both tribes would dig a four-foot deep trench towards each other.   

In those illiterate times, when there were no written contracts, they had their own ways. Young men from one end of the trench would split a heifer and a she goat, putting the halves on opposite sides of the ditch; then young men from the other tribe would split a grown ram in two for opposite sides of their end of the ditch.

Then, after those preparations, the absolute rulers of both ends of the ditch would hop in, and advance toward each other, say, “If my people break faith with yours, let me be split in two like this goat, heifer and ram.”

In Chapter Ten of Genesis God stooped to that lowly human way of making his covenant with Abraham. He came as a blazing torch from the end of the ditch opposite from where Abraham’s tribe was hidden.

Catholic and Protestants are getting along better these. But Sunni and Shiite Muslims are still killing each other on sight.

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