November 7, 2017

Howdy Wholetonians,

Declaration of independence quoteRemember there is really only one race … the Human race! Whatever factions arise, no matter how politics try to divide us, there remains one immutable fact—we were created by God as equals. A wise man, John Dickinson, once wrote, “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” Simple logic dictates that when considering the totality of mankind, addition and multiplication provides a favorable resolve, whereas subtraction and division creates a devastating equation.

The Declaration Of Independence is a truly masterful writ that contains the following line, which is the “summa bonum” of this Tuesday musing. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. America’s founding fathers viewed unity as a virtue, a gift, a non-debatable truth that created a scaffold or foundationproviding all American citizens with a level playing field, that is, common ground. 

Common ground, simply put, means a place of agreement. Sometimes we use titles to indicate an aspirational goal, but I find it fascinating that they can be, in essence, a misrepresentation of the status quo. For example, are the United States, United Kingdom, or United Nations, actually united? If we are truly honest, the answer is absolutely not! The reason is lack of agreement or common ground.

Believe it or not, there is actually a word that surpasses unity; that word is union! Union makes two or more become one. One is a most powerful number that remains indivisible. Jesus prayed this powerful prayer for all believers:

John 17: 20,21 “My prayer is not for them alone (His disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

Concerning marriage, here is another well-known passage:

Mark 10: 7-9 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

StndinbyseaFriends, regardless of the institution or implication, the common ground beneath our feet is swept away through selfishness, pride, and disagreement. How do we regain “oneness?” Of creed, country, or commitment, nothing can heal a breach quicker than love and genuine humility. The greatest model of such behavior is Jesus Christ.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

He was everything, yet allowed Himself to become nothing, so that through His humility, He could become obedient to fulfill His task—to die for us, so we could become one with Him! I will leave you with the words of a famous hymn that epitomizes, to me, the ultimate definition of “common ground.”


“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood Support me in the whelming flood; When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found, Clothed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.

Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento / Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Hymn #370, The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1, Tune: “Magdalen

MichaelheadshotBe the One,
Michael S. Tyrrell 

P.S. If you know someone who would benefit from these Tuesday emails, feel free to share this link: