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“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15


My friend Marty and I have never voted for the same person for President during an election year. He has been my friend for 34 years and 8 Presidential elections and we never vote for the same guy. When my guy is in office, Marty thinks the country is going to hell in a hand basket. I pretty much think the same thing when his guy is running things.

Marty is not my friend because we share the same political and social convictions, he is my friend in spite of them. Never once have these differences ever come between us. We met in Seminary, and I think we liked each other right away. Even now as we live on opposite ends of the country, when we do talk the book mark is taken from our friendship and we begin where we left off, with laughter being the usual theme that has always underscored our brotherhood.

I would have to say however our bond was solidified forever in a period of brokenness for both of us. For my part I had ruined my marriage, and a career I was born to. When many of my friends and colleagues, who by the way shared my same political and social convictions, didn’t want anything to do with me, it was a letter from Marty that re-assured me that I was loved and valued by him, and by the God we both loved and served. His note to me was like a hand reaching into the darkness that the Lord used to begin to lead me back into His light and restoration.

I think as a result, both of us have developed a deeper compassion for the brokenness of humanity, and that the love of God is the only comfort for a lost and broken world. It is on this common ground that Martin and I will always meet. We laugh with each other, and we cry with each other.

At this writing, our country is days away from choosing a president, even as a terrible storm devastates much of the Eastern portion of our nation.  It is my prayer that whoever is elected President, my guy or Marty’s guy, that compassion and understanding will be the prevailing theme for the time to come…that it will be our common ground as a Nation.

People and communities have been broken by this terrible storm and unfortunately, hopelessness is the fruit of the aftermath.  Those of us who find our common ground in Jesus Christ as Lord, as do Marty and I, may we lead the way in bringing Hope and compassion to all those who suffer. Let’s be that hand of Jesus in the darkness, bringing them into the light…as my friend Marty was for me.


Pastor Joel

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