The events of this week have left me bereft. The tumultuous events unfolding since election night mirror the upheaval in my heart and mind.
Looking for answers, or looking for comfort, I took my daughter to a small Episcopal church by our house this morning. I grew up Episcopal but married into a nondenominational evangelical family and we have attended a large mega church since my daughter was born. After the events of this week, however, I needed the comfort of the scripture and liturgy in which I was raised. While I do enjoy our family church, I confess there is nothing that can replace the Episcopal Church in my heart.
The congregation was exceedingly warm and welcoming to us, the visitors to their small congregation. I do not recall a time I have been more welcomed in the House of the Lord! As soon as we sat down, I had no less than ten people come say hello and introduce themselves. I noticed a few women were wearing safety pins as I was. This confirmed I was in the place my soul needed. Kindred spirits amongst strangers. Are we ever truly strangers in the House of the Lord?
During the Prayers of the People we prayed, as always, for those who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; That there may be justice and peace on earth.
We prayed an especially important prayer.
It was not lost on me that this prayer came before The Confession. Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Our neighbors are not limited to those who live in the houses next door. They are those in the community who look altogether different than us. Pray differently than us. Not pray at all. They may look the same as us and even pray the same as us, but think differently than us. This last part is what I have struggled with this week. Think differently. I am angry at those who thought differently than me, and voted differently than me. I am angry that they cannot see the hurt they would cause me and their fellow neighbors. I am angry that some use Christ to justify their vote, actions, words or deeds. I am angry many are indifferent to the hurt and the fear they have caused. But I have not always used my anger productively in response, and I have sinned against my neighbor as well.
During the Peace, more strangers came and introduced themselves, welcoming us into their fold. An African American woman who was already in tears, and also wearing a huge safety pin, embraced me.
When I took my daughter up for communion, I thought they’d just cross her forehead in blessing as they do with most children before being confirmed. The female reverend smiled a loving smile at my daughter and gave her a communion wafer. My daughter watched me as I held my own wafer, the Body of Christ, and emulated me as I dipped it into the wine, the Blood of Christ. I almost broke out into tears of joy as she experienced her first communion. Then she made a funny face upon tasting the admittedly bland wafer and my joy bubbled up into amused laughter. Kids!
After the service, the reverend came up to introduce herself. She asked me to join her for a cup of coffee and a cup of apple juice for my daughter. We chatted for a bit and she invited us to come back and worship anytime. As we said goodbye, she ended with, “Bravo on your pin.”
While this morning did not help me make sense of the world, it did what I hoped it would, reminding me that kindred spirits are all around and I should not despair, but know thy Peace of the Lord is always with me.
Thy peace of the Lord be always with you, too.
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