I was just shy of six months old when I was baptized in a little Lutheran church in Casper, Wyoming. I don’t remember the event myself, of course, but I have photos and the official, signed record. On that day I officially entered the vast household of the followers of Jesus Christ.
This household consists of people of all cultures and persuasions. They have radically different understandings of who they are, and who it is they are following, and why. All hold to one set of sacred writings, but they interpret these Scriptures in very different ways. Bottom line, all belong to Christ.
As a Christian woman I mourn the deep division that in this past week drew a band of violent people to storm our nation’s capital, vandalizing and looting property and harming and killing those standing against them. These folks are part of my household, and yet I have no way of speaking to them, no words in which to express what I believe the truth to be. They have been poisoned by propaganda, and they are riding the crest of a wave of fear and rage.
I truly believe, with the mystics, that we are all profoundly connected. In my heart is your heart — your pain, your hopes, your loves — and your hatreds. So I have found myself in the past several days going within. In my prayer and meditation time, I find the place in myself that is filled with fear, anger and distrust.
This scary place is laced with helplessness, with not knowing where the next blow will be coming from. Threats come from all sides. My livelihood, my home, my health and the health of my friends and family, and my way of life and connections to my tribe are all at risk. It is hard to occupy this space, to breathe into it.
Yet this fear and rage link us across the divide. But, if we might reel in our projections and face the dangers together, we might be all right. Belonging to the household of Christ demands this of each of us. Love demands this of each of us.
So I sit with the helplessness, with the fear and the anger, and I pray from this place. Breathing into the powerful emotions and praying is the most important thing I can do, right now and maybe always.
Christ, my savior and my companion, hear the distress of your people. Calm our fears and help us deal with our deep sorrow and our profound anger. You, who were helpless on the cross, teach us to live with our helplessness. Teach us to love. Amen.