Daryl Davis says “when two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. It’s when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy — it doesn’t have to be about race, it could be about anything…you will find that you both have something in common. As you build upon those commonalities, you’re forming a relationship and as you build about that relationship, you’re forming a friendship. That’s what would happen. I didn’t convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves.”
Stephanie Dozois, Minister of Youth and Families
The waterfalls and the noise of the troubles of our lives and our world are disorienting. When we feel under the water, remember to look for God. God is there – blowing a whistle and waving to us, trying to get our attention.
“The reign of God is not about condemning others because they’re different from us.
The reign of God is not about artificial borders.
The reign of God is not a place where we put children of God in cages;
the reign of God is a place where we invite people in to share the blessings.
The reign of God is when we can turn away from hate and turn towards love.”
Our denomination continues to be made up of local churches that don’t always see eye-to-eye. It’s always heartening to be an event like General Synod and to be around so many folks who are “just like me.” But it often also highlights the differences.
Three is a magic number, providing strength and stability for tripods and tricycles and relationships. As Holy love continues to be revealed to us through the Spirit that lives in us, we can avoid being drawn into bad triangles and focus on the good.
On that night though, something changed. Those who were not arrested were released outside. Instead of leaving the area, they watched as police began loading alcohol and people into patrol wagons. As police attempted for ten minutes to detain one woman in handcuffs (many stories identify her as Storme DeLarverie – a lesbian entertainer and bouncer, born to an African American mother and a white father) – as she escaped four times from the police and been hit on the head with a baton, she look out at the bystanders and shouted “why don’t you guys do something?”
The story doesn’t end there – or anywhere. The disciples go out to follow the Risen Christ to preach to all nations, to preach good news to the poor and proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
They continue the mission and they witness to the seemingly impossible ways that God’s work and Word surrounds us.
And their story grows, and their witnessing clothes others with power from on high and their joy gets passed from generation to generation until it reaches us.
On this Mental Health Sunday, may we commit to do just that: to be a sanctuary where everyone is welcome exactly as they are; where we will not be afraid to talk about mental health; where we will push our legislators and leaders to provide funding and support for mental health for all; where we will hear God’s call to simply reach out to others and ask “are you okay?”
We may not have Jesus’ gift of miracles but we do have the gift of love.
It’s about all of us. We’re not in this alone. When Simon Peter was lost and afraid he went back to fishing – to what he’s always known, what brings him comfort – the rest of them went with him. He said “I’m going out to fish” and they replied “we’ll go with you.”