When We Dance Together
John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. -Matthew 5:47-48
I try to acknowledge people as they pass me, looking for a seat on the bus or sitting next to me. I not only try to see the Spirit in them, but to affirm them. Affirmation gives others the sense that someone else notices that they “are.” They have value and worth.
As people come in contact with me, I may merely nod to them, perhaps smile, and on some occasions we talk. Most folks are a passing story. I just present to them a look in my eyes that says “you count for something.”
I often rode the bus with a young woman named Calista. She was 21 years old at the time, afflicted with cerebral palsy, and I had difficulty understanding her. Still we enjoyed a connection during the months we rode together. I learned a little more of her story. While I knew her, she married and seemed happy. I hope she knows that matters to me.
I often wondered if physical, emotional, or intellectual challenges mask the inner person. Patrick has Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and is ten years younger than I. I saw him regularly on the bus for about three years. I understood about 10 percent of what Pat said, but his character came through loud and clear. Despite our limitations, all people reflect the God who made them.
As we dance into the rest of our existence, limitations fall away. We will be known. We are worthy of the wonder of our creation. I imagine that it pleases God when we all dance together.
Let your heart be broken for a world in need. -Bryan Jeffrey Leech, \xc2\xa9 1976 Fred Bock Music Company, Community of Christ Sings 353
Lament is an expression of our grief, sorrow, and sometimes confession to God amid the brokenness, injustice, and suffering of the human family. Lament is a major theme of the psalms and an invitation to “let our hearts be broken” as we humbly pray for awareness of right and restorative action. Spend time each day this month practicing the prayer of Lament.
Loving God, break my heart open to my own and others’ suffering because of injustice. Help me stay with what is real even when it is uncomfortable.
Forgiving God, grow in me an awareness of the ways that I consciously and unconsciously contribute to systems of violence, suffering, and injustice.
Healing God, open my eyes to invitations to relieve the physical and spiritual suffering of others.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.