Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Please read Romans 5:1-11 in your Bibles.
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Our worship service on Tuesday nights is informal. We sit on the floor around the dais facing each other. When the time for communion comes, all present become communion assistants. We commune each other around the circle. Iíve noticed something that those gathered for worship have begun doing almost instinctively. As the bread and wine are shared and the words are spoken, ďGiven and shed for you,Ē the one giving communion and the one receiving communion pause and reverence the moment. They are seated on the floor facing each other. Between them and enfolding them a sacred space has been created. They are giving and receiving Christ. Through the food and the words reconciliation takes place. They are made at peace with God, with each other, and with the community through Christís body and blood given and shed. In that pauseóin that sacred spaceópeace is created, strengthened and sustained.
When I traveled to Madagascar, I noticed a different sort of sacred spaceóthe space where humans touch. The Malagasy people, especially the children, long to touch and be touched. When friends gather, they bunch up like a litter of puppies or kittens bedding down for a nap. They stand right next to each other. Arms brush against arms or legs or hips. A hand will be placed on a shoulder. They hold each other in friendly embrace. Even grown men will walk down the street holding hands. And theyíre just friendsóreally. Think about what all that positive physical contact does for building and strengthening community. You canít dislike someone who is touching you, at least not for long. In Madagascar right now there is political unrest. Two men are struggling to take control of the presidency. Millions of Malagasy people have taken to the streets to protest the incumbent. No violence or rioting has occurred. Westerners canít even manage that kind of peaceful gathering for a soccer match. I truly believe that as the Malagasy grow up in such a touchy, feely society peace is created, strengthened and sustained. Their touch is sacred.
I was at a conference last week where one of the presenters discussed creating sacred spaces where reconciliation, peacemaking, can take place. In order for a space to be created for reconciliation there must be vulnerability. Somebody has to take a risk. Somebody has to blink. Somebody must fearlessly step forward prepared to take a loss. Christ took that path of risk and loss to the cross. Our sinful selves jumped on the opportunity and nailed Christ to the cross. But God still stepped forward out of the tomb and back into life to create that sacred space for us. God in Christ is right there with us brushing up against us, holding our hand, holding us in a friendly embrace. God creates peace between us building community and bonding us to one another.
Pray that Godís touch of peace will be seen and felt around you as you and others strive to follow Christís way of the cross in creating sacred spaces of peace