Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
There are few things more powerful than a group of close knit colleagues getting together to process and pray. Once a month, the group of United Methodist clergy in this area get together to worship, chat and learn…we call it colloquy. Happens all over the conference according to each Assistant to the Bishop. But yesterday was a bit different because the group of clergy that I meet with met in a space that was different. We met in a space where the clergy is no longer present at this church because he has resigned his orders. This clergy self disclosed sexual misconduct. And now we were meeting at the church.
And it affected us. Completely.
So we processed and asked questions. Then we walked into the sanctuary, gathered around the table and by the pulpit and prayed together. We prayed for healing, for courage, for comfort, for new life. We prayed because we are angry, sad, hurt, confused. We prayed because we care and because one person’s actions effect so many. The ripple effect is astounding. We prayed because this is something we can do. In the midst of an action that sent the spiral spinning, this is where we can gather a bit of calm and healing of our own.
That is a powerful experience.
This morning I woke up thinking about this experience and what makes us so connected. In some ways, that group of people is a family of sorts. Although not the same name, we certainly align with a group of people, connect with a group of people, and are thrown into situations with each other. We don’t necessarily choose each other and yet when stuff like this happens it touches the whole system. Buechner says this about family, “It is not so much that things happen in a family as it is that the family is the things that happen in it. The family is continually becoming what becomes of it. It is every christening and every commencement, every falling in love, every fight, every departure and return….A family is a web so delicately woven that it takes almost nothing to set the whole thing shuddering or even to tear it to pieces. Yet the thread it’s woven of is as strong as anything on earth.” (Whistling in the Dark; A Doubter’s Dictionary.)
Of course we all have different ways of defining who our family is…chosen or born into. But here, I was so aware that as we gathered in that space, in a way we have become a family that shares hurts and shudders when others are in pain.
Who is your family this morning? What pieces need prayer? What pieces are in pain in the family? How will you gather up and pray this morning?
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I am sad that I wasn’t able to be there yesterday and that I won’t be able to join you all for a while. But I’ve been in prayer for everyone impacted by this.