What a different a week makes. Last week at this time many of us felt hopeful and perhaps even triumphant on the last day of election season. In the past week we have experienced hurt, fear, and outrage as the hate in our country has reached a tipping point.
After Wednesday morning’s initial shock wore off and I started thinking about what I could do, my first step was making the commitment to return to church. I had already been researching area churches and knew where I wanted to start.
After a long and trying week I spent Saturday enjoying myself judging a home brew competition. Although this was a fun event it was also long and physically exhausting and as Saturday night rolled around and every joint and muscle hurt I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make my return to church as anticipated. However as Sunday morning rolled around I was ready and able.
I attended the 11:00am traditional service at Trinity United Methodist Church right in my neighborhood. I had met one of the pastors Katy this summer at my coffee shop and had been wanting to check out what they were offering. It was very much what I expected which is in every way positive.
I knew I was attending a church in an upper class neighborhood, and the traditional service added to that I was definitely one of the younger attendees. But I received welcomes and smiles and good mornings before I even found my seat.
Things got started at 11am on the dot and the music was grand, including a pipe organ and handbells. The order of worship was familiar and it was fabulous to see Katy’s face smiling back at mine.
I knew from reading over the bulletin as I waited for the service to start that church life at Trinity was alive and rooted in mission. This wasn’t a congregation that stayed safely in their predominately white upper class neighborhood, they were getting out and serving others.
The morning scripture for the morning was from Matthew 10 in which Jesus calls his apostles to be healers to the lost sheep of Israel. That is what we need healing on every side of every issue.
I took notes, but I do not have them here at the coffee shop that I’m doing my work from this morning. Many great things stuck with me from yesterday’s message, but I will share with you one thing I think we all need to hear.
Listen, don’t explain. When we go to the doctor’s what is the first thing we are asked “why are you here today?” We can’t be healed or be healers unless we understand the problem first. We can’t assume to know what our neighbor is thinking, we can’t blindly explain why our point of view is right and expect to heal the other.
My take home from this is that we have to listen first, before we can do the work that needs to be done. I’m struggling with how we continue to protest and make it known hate will not be tolerated, how do we protect our minority, LGBTQ, disabled brothers and sisters, while still listening to those who do not agree with us. And I suspect it will be something I continue to struggle with.
As we take our next steps after the election I don’t expect you to not still be angry, I don’t expect you to stop the protesting, and the speaking out, but maybe we can all try to listen a little bit better. Maybe just by hearing our neighbor who we disagree with, some healing can begin.