Those who know me well know that I can be quite…shall we say vocal?…in my views about justice. Sometimes I can be called an advocate. Sometimes an agitator. Sometimes even a loudmouth, I suppose. And to be honest, sometimes I’m pretty sure that’s my call.
My dad’s side of the family is Jewish. I grew up Lutheran. I was born in Baltimore where my dad was a youth leader in an all-black Lutheran church. I was the first white baby baptized in that church. As I grew up, my dad had a poster on his wall and I was deeply impacted by these words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller that are now quoted so often:
I’ve always known that if I had lived in Nazi Germany or one of the occupied countries that my dad would have been taken, and eventually so would I. And so I’ve always spoken out. And there is a time and place for that.
And yet now it seems to me that it’s time to be a peacemaker. I could argue that speaking out for justice as I have been is to be a peacemaker. But for the moment, I have a sense that being a peacemaker will come in some different ways.
Our communities, cities, states, country, are so incredibly divided. I know people who fear for their very lives with certain outcomes to this election. To be honest, I fear for many of my friends and people from our community of faith, too. The overt acts of racism, assaults on Muslims, the talk about closing our borders to refugees, the seeming acceptance of so-called “locker room talk” which I believe condones sexual assault, the talk of armed revolution, well, that’s fear-provoking.
No matter who wins the presidential election here in the US on Tuesday, we will be suffering for some time with the effects of hate, fear and division. So I feel very deeply that now is a time to be peacemakers. Each of us will need to define that for ourselves. I think this is what it will look like for me:
As Tapestry, we talk a lot about not only building bridges but crossing them, too. This is really hard work. We talk every week about all the things that divide us, but we truly believe that we are one in Christ. We build bridges and cross them with our music, food and education. It’s slow work. Trust me. I’m not a patient person, so this is a struggle for me. I think there is a crisis of division. People are oppressed. People are oppressors. I want change to happen and I want it to happen now!
Today at worship we’ll be talking about the phrase: “Your will be done on earth as in heaven/hagase tu voluntad, asi en la tierra como en el cielo…” I will be honest. I pray this prayer often knowing that it’s really my will I want done.
So I pray today that God’s will be done. That somehow God use me, the people of Tapestry and our ministry as instruments of peace in this world that is so divided. May you feel the peace that only comes from God, a peace that passes all understanding, a peace so profound it breaks the chains of bondage. Shalom. Paz. Peace.
Just a note: We have moved! We worship now at Oak Grove Lutheran Church, 7045 Lyndale Ave So, Richfield! 5:00 p.m. Sundays. I hope you will join us in our work of crossing bridges!