Sometimes when I start to write, I have an idea of where I am going but by the time I get to the end, I discover that my writing took me somewhere else. The other day, communication was on my mind. I ended up writing about the Blues and trusting God with those Blues.
Most of the time, I realize that I went where I needed to go. But this time Communication would not let me go. For two days now, it has continued popping up.
On Saturday mornings, I have been joining a beloved group of people from my regional church who are dedicated to pray together on Zoom. Our minister, Dr. Christal Williams, opened us with a time of letting us share what was on our minds, and one of the first words I heard was “communication.” This person said she was praying for the protesters who wanted to be heard. The conversation went on to how we must trust, be authentic and open with God, ourselves, and others. Stories were shared of recent examples of not being heard, which went beyond race, beyond gender. It went to different generations not listening to each other. It went to theological understandings of seeing and not seeing, of hearing and not hearing, of speaking up and of being silenced by outright backlash or by customs demanding it. It went to being weary and needing to be revived by Our Source. It called for communication with others and with God.
I still wasn’t settled; “communication” was rattling my brain, calling me to ponder some more. “I’ll see what the lectionary scripture is for Sunday, Matthew 10:40-42: being received/welcomed is welcoming Christ, and welcoming Christ welcomes God. Being welcomed and being welcoming.
DYdxeg3CmSBHcL4NA (A picture taken In Little Rock on the first day of integration.)
I looked at some notes I had written three years ago while preparing a sermon on these verses. I had references to two books: Please Understand Me by David Keisey and Marilyn Bates and Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick. The first spoke of our basic, deep-down, human need to be heard and understood. Feeling understood is feeling welcomed and loved. The second book is a reference to the first picture above, showing the first Black students beginning the integration of Little Rock schools. Can you see the hate emanating out of the woman yelling? She later became an advocate for reconciliation between the races. She sought out the black woman trying bravely to ignore her while walking to school so she could apologize. The two moved from that apology to friendship and working together. The door was opened for true conversation, listening and hearing, working together to make a difference.
What kind of doors might open in our communities and nation if we begin to listen to one another with God’s love and welcoming spirit?
https://photos.app.goo.gl/RqLrQW8FkqiGNaPe7 (Picture taken at The Ecumenical Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba. The Cross represents people welcoming and sharing the love of God.)
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