In the Episcopal Church today, June 10, (and in the Church of England yesterday), we remember Ephrem of Syria (or Edessa) who died in 373 BCE. Ephrem was a Deacon, a hymn writer, and a teacher.
In Hymns of Faith, Ephrem writes:
“Truth and love are wings that cannot be separated,
for truth without love is unable to fly,
so too love without truth is unable to soar up:
their yoke is one harmony.”
The reading set for commemorating Ephrem is John 16:12–15 in which Jesus speaks about God’s Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth” who will “guide you into all the truth.” Jesus speaks about truth as originating from the heart of God and being reflected in Jesus’ words and teachings.
In The Ministry of Reconciliation: Spirituality & Strategies by Robert J. Schreiter, C.P.P.S. (Orbis Books, 1998/2008) we read:
“Truth in reconciliation has to be understood in terms of the lies that wrongdoers perpetrate in a situation of violence, and the environment of untruthfulness that is created.” (P. 118)
Ephrem takes us to an attractive, adorable truth in Hymns of Faith. A truth which soars, in love, above the untruthful environment of violence and brokenness.
Truth in love is “one harmony,” writes Ephrem.
Here is a prophetic word for our time. In the U.S. and around the world, the quest for the truth continues. Often the catalyst has been graphic violence and senseless killing on our TVs and smart devices.
The question is now, “can this violence take us to a place where truth and love soar?” “Can this violence lead to a place of redemption?” If not, I fear that many more will die in vain. If not, I fear that no amount of chanting and protest will be enough.
May we find, deep within ourselves, the origins of truth and love. That place of good creation embedded deep within each of us. May Ephrem and all the Saints help to take us to a new place. A place where redemption and reconciliation is found in a new environment of peace and restoration.