“At the heart of the image of divine providence is the promise, ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Embodying this affirmation challenges us to make a new affirmation, ‘Nothing can separate this person from my love in Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Ask for God’s guidance in identifying persons who need a sense of your abiding love and acceptance. Name them before God as you connect yourself to being a channel of the unconditional love that god has given you. In so doing, you may become the answer to someone else’s prayer.” Bruce Epperly The Power of Affirmative Faith. pg. 36
There is such tension in churches because of the changes in the world that have forced us all out of our comfort, mirrored in the changes in what is said and done in church. So often the pastor or the leadership becomes the lighting rod for the discomfort and tension as people struggle to find the church they loved in the church they attend on Sunday morning. A few weeks ago, I attended the ordination of a friend. Part of the promises made by the new pastor and her congregation is that they will pray for each other. Wow. Down the line in the new relationship, that can become the most important thing that they do for each other.
I am reminded today that when I am irritated with the hurt feelings between pastor and people, between friends and others that we need to make life work, we need to remember the ways that we are bound together in Christ’s love. We need to let the Spirit of Love touch our hearts and remind us of our own status as Beloved, so that we can love in return. We need to pray for the people who we have hurt and who have hurt us. We need to care more, not less. We need to say, “Pray for me,” as well as, “I will pray for you.”