In the wake of the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise , the politicians (as always) had a lot to say. The media, of course, said even more. After receiving the facts (which isn’t always the easiest thing to do these days) I pretty much tuned out the news. It didn’t take me long to get sickened by the loving platitudes that (in my opinion) would last about a week, then fade away into oblivion.
All the lovey-dovey, let’s-tone-down-the-rhetoric speech will soon be a thing of the past. They will return to spewing their vile bombast in short order, and everything will go back to abnormal. I apologize for my skepticism, but I just can’t help myself.
Before I tuned out, I heard one commentator blasting the political leaders. She vehemently called upon them to, “Get a life!” Then she said, “Breathe…!” As I turned off my TV set, I began to allow that comment to settle into my psyche.
I have to say, those four words laid out some of the best advice I think could be given to our august group of governmental leaders—not just at a time such as this, but anytime. A lot of people love to hear the sound of their own voices. As a preacher, I may even be one of them. But at least people aren’t rushing to stick a microphone in my face. If only that were equally true of our friends in high places.
Ecclesiastes 3 contains one of the most known and quoted portions of Scripture. That’s the one that tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Then it goes on to list some of those activities. Among them are such things as “a time to be born and a time to die,” and “a time for war and a time for peace.”
Eating Away at the Fabric
If I were writing Ecclesiastes right now, I would include a line that said something like, “a time to breathe.” We don’t seem to take time to breathe anymore. We keep running at the mouth, posting on social media, getting out in front of the cameras, and going on the offense. That kind of a situation gets caustic very quickly. Without breathing deeply in between actions, the caustic turns intensely acidic and eats away at the very fabric of our society.
I have no illusions that my little blog is going to change anything dramatically. I’m hoping (if nothing else) it will change me. If I can be a small voice of reason in the sea of vehemence, that will be enough for now. If I can convince one other person to do the same, it will have been worth it.
I don’t know if that TV commentator knew how clearly she hit the nail on the head. Nor do I know if she’ll heed her own words. What I do know is this. She’s dead on.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go breathe.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]