Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Tough Week: Tuesday's Reflection

Vigil at St Paul Reformation Church
I live in St Paul, and we have had our share of tough news this last week. A friend emailed me, "Even in St Paul." Yes, here, too. We are definitely not immune to racism and its painful results. 

Sunday morning I needed church, and I was grateful to be in a church community where the tough days are addressed and not brushed away with platitudes or easy answers. Our pastors struggle to bring hope without brushing away the realities, and they allow us in the pews to journey with them in their own pain and questions. 

And so we went to church, which seemed a bit more full than a normal summer Sunday in Minnesota. I think we needed to share space with others. We needed to pray together, to sit quietly and listen. We also needed to delight in new life. How perfect it was to celebrate the baptism of three gorgeous babies. We needed those babies yesterday!

In the afternoon we went to church again--this time a vigil service at St Paul Reformation Church, which is located only a block away from the school where Philando Castille worked, but is also close to the Governor's Mansion where there have been and continue to be demonstrations. Presiding Bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Elizabeth Eaton spoke, and I appreciated her response to the question, "Is our country breaking apart or waking up?" She pointed out that some parts need to be broken off--the parts that prevent all people from experiencing peace and justice. But she certainly affirmed that this is a time in which we need to wake up, and we need to listen to each other. 

Where do you go when you need to process upsetting, unsettling events? Do you have a community, faith or otherwise, where it is not only safe to grapple with the hard questions, but it is expected and honored? With whom do you dig deep? Where do you find new perspectives and new insights? 

Where do you find peace? Bishop Eaton said there are many kinds of peace and perhaps not all are helpful when we desperately need change. Peace can sometimes mean apathetic status quo in which we allow ourselves to be untouched. Or as my mother often requested, "Let's just have happy talk."

I mean the kind of peace that is based on love and respect and openness and a desire for wholeness. The kind of peace that knows we are all one.  

An Invitation
Where is your community of peace? I hope you have one and if you don't, what are you willing to do to find or create one? I would love to know. 

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
St Paul Reformation Church

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