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What? There is no unity in Unity … (Saskatchewan)?

What is the world coming to?

There is a town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, named Unity. I was there once. I remember a nice hotel, and we stayed overnight. There is a local salt mine, and I also learned, in a previous career, that the mine is used to store small amounts of radioactive waste.

When we visited, it seemed like a nice place, and the name “Unity” does not usually get mentioned in the news.

Now there is a news story about Unity. According to some people, Unity is divided. There is no unity in Unity.

The problem seems to be stress about COVID restrictions and vaccines. One angry statement was posted online about the unvaccinated in Unity; they should “go out there and get sick and die.

So, a group of residents has asked the town council to pass a bylaw against discrimination, including prejudice because of personal medical decisions. That usually means a person is not vaccinated against COVID. Some people in Unity want the discrimination and harassment to stop:

READ: How COVID-19 is dividing the town of Unity, Saskatchewan

I did not visit Unity before I wrote this, and I can’t confirm what’s happening there. Also, the town was named because of its name. It’s cute to talk about unity in Unity. There are other places with names that don’t make puns, and they have the same problems; towns like Ecum Secum and Salmon Arm. And no, I did not visit those towns to confirm that.

I have a job that takes me to many small towns, and I know, we have the same human problem everywhere. Somehow, actions to combat a pandemic have given us permission to abuse our neighbors. ‘If they choose something different than me, I can call them names.’ We seem to have permission to stop pretending that we are good. Now we can be angry and mean and still feel right about ourselves.

There is an old song “Love Is In The Air” but now we have a new song. We don’t need to love our neighbors to be right and good, we can just be correct, in the new way.

So, what happens if we continue in this way? What if we go to a higher level, beyond an argument in a small town? It is important to see our direction, and not just what we are doing right now. Small beginnings can grow into something much larger.

We have been warned about the end of this road:

People will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. (2 Timothy 3: 1 to 5)

Every road leads us somewhere.

An argument in a town, somewhere, is a symptom of a change that we are going through.

Where I live, the story is not new. Ten months ago, we almost had crowd scenes near some churches. Probably, riots did not happen because the offended people were church-going Christians. They mostly sang hymns outside of places that they were barred from:

READ: Protesters gather at GraceLife Church on first Sunday after closure

Someone in power thought it was a good idea to put a fence around a church and keep the members out. It seemed like the right thing to do, to keep a disease from spreading. Ten years ago, that was impossible.

The hymn singing was ten months ago. Since then, anger and resentment have grown. News stories tell us about ordinary working people who are blocking roads and bridges and ignoring government orders. The news is full of these stories, and the problems are growing. I am waiting for the government push-back, with arrests and criminal charges, and maybe there will be actual riots.

Without choosing sides, we all have a problem. The spiritual sickness that came on us, with COVID, is a crisis, and according to the Bible, it could stay and grow.

We are learning some dangerous lessons. Apparently, we don’t need love anymore.

God has a different lesson for us:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4: 7 and 8)

I hope we can all relearn the truth that we are losing:

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