Dividing Line

by Christine Sine
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by Rev Sheila Hamil

Jesus prayed ‘May they be one!’ This was his earnest prayer for all his followers.

This song ‘Dividing Line’ was written years ago, at a time when there were deeply held, divisive issues within the church. Also harmony between Christian denominations wasn’t all that apparent then, but now church unity is far more real, far more genuine. This is reflected in the lyrics. But this song still speaks, right now across nations and across the world, because there are those who don’t seem to be able to listen to anyone else‘s opinions anymore; they have their own entrenched and quite polarised views, and they stand firm, immovable and angry.

Often the way we think depends very much on reports we choose to read on social media, and some of it is fake, manipulative, selective and incendiary. Even the daily newspaper we opt for, can also help feed our bias. We may think we’re being ‘enlightened’, we may believe we’re thinking objectively, but that’s not always the case. We’re far more easily influenced today, and we’re far less likely to challenge what we see and hear.

Very often unpleasant experiences of the past, old hurts and inherited prejudices creep in and muddy the waters of our thinking. This song calls for ‘peacemakers’ (and by this I don’t mean lovers of peace) to weigh up valid points on each side of an argument, and help others to understand and listen to what’s being said. They’re called to speak out and not remain silent where there is injustice and prejudice, to speak out against violence and warmongering, to speak out for what is right . . . BUT to do it peacefully and lovingly and encourage others to do the same! To be there right standing on the dividing line, as a ‘peace maker’ is a dangerous and uncomfortable place to be! Jesus taught, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God’. Hence the last verse of this song:

Pour your love out, Spirit blow.

Reconcile us, help us grow.

Graft us to the One True Vine

and help us to bridge the dividing line.

      ©1991 Sheila Hamil, used with permission.

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