The Spirit that Unites…
One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal. Henri Nouwen
Yesterday nine members of our German church council wrestled with how to negotiate between traditional and contemporary elements and language in our worship services. The challenge was that the emotions advocating for both sides were strong. We had two opposite needs expressed, and then also several people who were “in the middle”. We began our session with prayer. Then we intentionally took time to listen. We listened to all voices and opinions. It took us a few hours to actually understand what the needs of the opposite desires were about. In the end we chose to leave the structure in a more traditional way, yet find a few creative solutions to make our service more contemporary. We decided to intentionally watch out before each service for ancient language that could be harmful and that either needs to be explained or at times even left out or changed. We ended with prayer all feeling heard and taken into account. The Spirit helped us remain passionate and engaged with each other instead of turning against or away from each other.
Prayer: God of unity, I thank You for our diversity in unity that we experienced yesterday. Thank you that what looked like possible conflict actually became an opportunity to get to know each other better. Thank you that Your Spirit helped us through open listening to overcome the divide. Your Spirit is the creative energy that helps us bridge the gap between our two thousand year old Christian tradition and our present everyday life. And we are grateful. Amen
The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. 1 Corinthians 12:7