I am very very excited; my baby girl is coming home for a long weekend. We have not seen her for two and half months; since we dropped her off for her first year at medical school. She gets a long holiday weekend because some of us have time off for Columbus Day.
I say “some” because there are number of states and major cities do not observe Columbus Day (I am in New Jersey where we do), but instead celebrate alternative holidays such as Indigenous People’s Day, Native American Day, and Discoverer’s Day (Hawaii). One state, Oregon, does not recognize any holiday at all this weekend. But my absolute favorite by far, due to uniqueness and irony, is the city of Columbus, Ohio who (you guessed it) does not celebrate their namesake. Instead they honor veterans (I wonder what they do on Veteran’s Day?). Now the reasons for these alternatives is many, often packed with great passion, emotion, and protest.
So why do I drudge all this up? Why do I brush up against this politically charged topic? Why do I poke the bear? My answer is simple: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
In my search for 42, I have found that whether that whether the culture is Italian, Native American, or Scandinavian, Polynesian, Asian, or African, Hispanic, Caucasian, or Aztec, Western or Eastern, Jewish, Christin, Muslim, or Atheist, you can find evidence of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. (Please don’t feel bad if I missed your cultural history; free to add yours to the list), Not one culture has existed on this planet throughout history where somebody did not misstep, act ignorant, or fostered bad players. If you dig deep enough, you will likely find atrocities and even genocide. But I must be stress that we not forget that each culture of the world (including yours) have their great acts of discovery, charity, peacefulness, and love. After all, even the Planet of the Apes had Cornelius, Zira, and Lucius!
So why are we good, bad, and ugly altogether? Simply, we live in a fallen world. Since the beginning (yes, we even argue about what that means), we have been prideful, selfish, warlike and murderous. We have practiced, still practice, and will continue practice tribalism, classism, racism, and other “…isms” because we live in a broken world. But we have also been made in a special image that God chose which includes a wonderful mix of mind, body, passion, and spirit that allows us to rise above the badness and ugliness of the world.
So let’s stop casting stones or being so defensive toward one another because over 500 years ago one of our guys had missteps when commissioned by the Spanish crown to find a western trade route to Asia. or your people were here for thousands of years even though some your guys were not the peace loving people of the land, or….. STOP!!!!!
Instead, let us recognize our humanity; after all, we are all human!
If you need some advice on how to put all of this behind you and move forward together, I point you to 42. Not only did he challenge us to stop casting stones (John 8:7), he also cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Why? Because our LORD loves us! He asked for forgiveness for of the sins of Christopher Columbus and the Empire of the Summer Moon. The plea for forgiveness was for all of our sins, and it came while he hung on the cross taking those very sins to himself. It is remarkable that he didn’t hold our missteps, ignorance, or atrocities against us while an atrocity was being dealt out to him. He simply spread his arms out in love!
So be you Italian or Native American, Scandinavian or Polynesian, Asian or African. Hispanic or Caucasian, Western or Eastern, Capitalist or Socialist, Atheist, Muslim, Jew or Christian, let us celebrate together a long weekend that we all share rather than getting worked up about the past. Let us observe a common moment that we can share together.
As for me, I will be celebrating being alive, that my family will all be together for a few days because these are becoming more and more rare. But this weekend I will also celebrate you oh image bearer of 42!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24 esv
P.S. Literally three days after the holiday, a news story broke about a Detroit 5th grade teacher defended coming to school dressed like this. I rest my case.