Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Go to where the pain is

This has been a week of disunity

So tonight I would like to talk about unity


There are more than a few biblical passages that suggest that when it comes to being God’s people, unity is it.


1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV / 838 helpful votes

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.


1 Peter 3:8

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.


Philippians 2:2

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.


Colossians 3: And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.


2 Corinthians 13:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.


Ephesians 4:3 Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.




We live in a time of great hostility, and the temptation from which we must defend ourselves is to pull back from others, deny our shadow, and retreat into our own defended camps or isolated positions. This temptation is not detachment, but the giving over of ourselves to the illusion of separation. True spiritual action (as opposed to reaction) demands our own ongoing transformation, often changing sides to be where the pain is…

                               Richard Rohr, CAC note, 11/2/2020



this is a time of great hostility

it is also a time of great fear

a time of great anger


it is a time when every is entrenching

doubling down


a time when both sides claim righteousness

and both sides claim

that if the other wins the world will come to an end


it will be the “end of the world as we know it!”


and so we have two parties

two ideologies

two agendas


and hostility dominates

hate saturates the air

and saturates our souls


and we are naturally defensive

steeled against defeat

but also alienated

separated from one another


those people I have worshiped with

painted with

work with

studied with

are they really people I might abandon because they support Trump?

am I really someone they would  reject, because I am for Biden?


can I remember

can they remember

the time we spent together

at the side of graves


in the candle light of a Christmas Eve service


My task, in this time, is to go where the pain is

Not my pain, but their pain

and feel that pain, and feel the fear

that the country they love will become something

they no longer recognize?


Can I open my heart enough

can I tear down the walls?

can I build a bridge of love

across the ideological abyss?


This election, no one wins

If we end up in armed camps

If we end up separated from one another.


I admit

I am frightened by the specter

of white supremacy

of armed men patrolling the streets


I am in pain

Because of children separated from their children

LGBTQI friends being diminished and threatened

Colored people marginalized

Poor people abandoned


But I know that everyone is in pain

And I know

That if I can enter into the pain of other

Into their fear of loss, their struggle with ways that are different and frightening

Then “win” or “lose”


Something will emerge

That will be more than I can ask or imagine







It may seem illogical

But it is the way God works

When we open up, let go

When we die to our own dominance


Good things happen

Healing happens

Love happens


And God knows we need

Need love

This day


So let us not be armed camps

Let us not be closed

Let us have open hearts

And go to where the pain is

And in our common pain, find unity

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