Signs of Grace
By Garland Land of Blue Springs, MO, USA
And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith; for all things you shall receive by faith. -Doctrine and Covenants 15:1b
I was returning home from Washington, D. C. While on the plane I was reading a book in which the author referenced Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Reverend Hanson said when he was a parish pastor, he would open church council meetings with the question, “What signs of grace have you witnessed lately?”
I thought about the two-day meeting I had just attended. Around 25 participants met in a national forum to develop identity standards. One of the persons had submitted very critical comments on a committee draft report prepared in advance of the meeting. Some of her comments were a bit caustic. She proposed a completely different framework than the one presented in the draft document.
The group took over two hours to listen and confer over her approach in comparison with the subcommittee work. Sometimes the discussion was intense and heated. I wondered if she would walk out of the meeting because she was the only one representing her opinion. But the group didn’t dismiss her. They respected her. In the end the group found a way to accept the document that had been presented but to add to it the position the sole dissenter was voicing. Several people told her they were glad for her contribution.
For me it was a sign of grace. The group did the hard work of common consent. Neither the minority nor the majority opinion prevailed. They worked together to a satisfactory solution.
It is so easy not to listen when we are in the majority. It is equally easy to walk away when we are in the minority. Coming to common consent is the hard work of Community of Christ.
I dwell in your presence.
Prayer of Examen
Spend a few moments recalling your day. Let details, events, and conversations drift through your memory. Offer gratitude for the day and pray to be aware of how God was present. What did you notice or feel that brought meaning? Pay attention to moments when you felt least in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Offer a prayer of confession. Pay attention to moments when you felt most in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Pray to be even more aware of and responsive to God’s presence in the days ahead. Amen.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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