This well-known prayer attributed to St. Francis was a helpful centering for me this morning:
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”
This prayer reflects a sense of faith and care that so many of you have been expressing these days. I’ve been on many of your websites and been copied on some emails. I have been touched by what you have been sharing with each other. These times are, well, weird and disconcerting and I’ve found so much comfort and inspiration from what you are sharing and the spirit with which you all are sharing it. Thank you. The creativity and faithfulness represented in the ways you’re sorting through worship options, pastoral care, and administration are deep and beautiful.
Since we’re all figuring this out, I want to invite you to some opportunities to learn from each other about some of the important work you’re doing. I’ll be sending out more detailed call-in information soon but I’m going to schedule three regular times each week for us to learn from each other in an open format of sharing and conversation. For starters, this will be the schedule and topics we’ll focus on:
- Mondays at 1 pm: Questions, experiences, and learnings about worshipping together when we can’t be together. I’d ask that, for at least this first conversation, only those who do worship planning for local churches participate.
- Wednesdays at noon: Questions, experiences, and learnings about pastoral care considerations. I’d ask that, for at least this first conversation, only those who have pastoral care responsibilities for local churches or chaplaincy settings participate.
- Fridays at 10 am: Questions, experiences, and learnings about church administration and fiduciary considerations. I’d ask that, for at least this first conversation, only those who have administrative and fiduciary responsibilities for local churches or other ministry settings participate.
As the need arises, we might change the purposes for any of these gatherings and invite wider or more specific participation but, based on what I’m hearing right now, it seems to make sense to start here.
It’s sometimes hard to remember that there’s going to be another side beyond this moment but there will be. Over time there will new cures, practices and preventative measures we’ll learn and adapt to.
We will be changed by this and, while honoring who we lost, we will recognize ways this crisis that, while demanding we are part for a while, ends up bringing us together. We need each other and that is what makes humanity so frustrating and so beautiful. Today, I clearly see that beautiful part because it’s so easy to see it in each of you. Thank you.
——–Follow me on Twitter @denton_rev
Rev. Mike Denton
Conference Minister of
Pacific Northwest Conference of
The United Church of Christ