As a child I’d occasionally find my Dad leaned full back in his recliner ‘resting his eyes’ in front of an old John Wayne western. At some point in the show, a shoot-out would erupt between two cowboys on a dusty deserted street because, “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
I’ve been thinking about this. About towns not being big enough. About the mentality of viewing each other as threats … threats to our positions, places or policies … so much so that one of us has got to go.
But what if that weren’t true?
What if there was room for me and room for you?
What if we could fight for each others existence instead of against it?
Has anyone ever fought for you?
God says, “When you were born … no one took care of you … no one had compassion on you or did anything to help you … people looked upon you with deep contempt
(ie – no one fought for you). Then I passed by and saw you as you lay there … I said to you, ‘LIVE!’ Again, I insisted, ‘LIVE!’ … and you did.”
“I insisted, live! … and you did.”
I insist you exist.
I think of the tight circles we draw, contemptuously casting people out.
I think of the dying people we walk blindly by.
I think of immigration policies and political structures. I think of wrong sides of tracks and glass ceilings. I think of religious dogma and all the other lines and circles and walls and boundaries we lay down or build up and force people to the other side of because maybe we are threatened somehow by their presence. For one reason or another they make us uncomfortable. This town (church, neighborhood, family, community, country, workplace) ‘ain’t big enough for the both of us …’
But there is room, isn’t there? For all of us?
Through the whole of Scripture I hear God repeating in one way or another, “I insist you exist!” Always calling us from death to life and from outside, in.
God fights for our existence and is forever throwing doors wide to welcome in more – this Holy Host who insists there’s room.
The elder brother in the prodigal son story, the reluctant prophet Jonah, and the law abiding Pharisees drew tight circles around who would be tolerated in their worlds. But this Holy Host God-of-ours keeps expanding (or pushing) the boundary lines. He keeps insisting on others existing and within the circle, at that.
When this ‘town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ it’s time to re-draw the maps, friend. It’s time to fight for and not against.
It’s time to say to one another: We insist you exist.
Coexist: to exist together, at the same time or in the same place and to do so peacefully.
Nobody run out of town.
No resistance to your existence.
Can you imagine?
We do not need to diminish or disappear in order to make room for the other.
There is room for us both. Or there should be.
Today and all our days going forward let’s pledge to see each other. Let’s, with compassion, power and love, call out across divides We insist you exist: Our Little Life Words of the Week.
- When have you experienced being cast / forced to the outside?
- Has anyone fought for you?
- Who can you fight for and how?
- Read A Blessing Called Sanctuary by one of my very favorites, Jan Richardson (about 1/2 way down the page). Soak in the goodness of being fully received.
- Do one thing this week to advocate for the life of another. Let at least one person know you see them and that their life matters to you.
- Our song of the week is: Rescue by Lauren Daigle.
- “God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through … See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—the path that brings me back to you.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Friend, may you know deep down in your soul you are wanted, you are welcomed, and you are so worth fighting for.