i spent parts of the last couple of days
as a delegate for the
western district conference of mennonite church usa’s annual assembly.
i’ve never been in this role.
i was surprised at my level of intimidation.
though i am starting to recognize in myself
an underlying theme of
not wanting to be where i don’t belong.
in my childhood
i watched and experienced over and over
people calling out that
i/someone didn’t belong.
it is starting to make sense.
it makes sense that my heart rate
was elevated for about an hour
during an intense conversation of about 200 hundred people
on the issue of homosexuality.
agreeing and disagreeing.
walls so high it’s hard to imagine crossing over.
it makes sense that i couldn’t stop the tears
during session on immigration
as the memories of childhood visitors turned friends
coming in and out of our home
on their secret journey north.
it makes sense that my heart swelled with hope
as people of all ages made me proud
to claim this faith as my own.
i can’t help but feel that christians in our nation
are often the most divisive in word and action.
comments and doings that have me cringe with shame.
what does the welcome table look like if there is exclusion?
i remain grateful that
through audible sighs, shouts out,
banjo picking, fiddle wailing,
continued conversations through anger,
shifting in seats and those still as statues,
coffee and more coffee,
tears and laugher,
english and spanish,
this weekend reminded me
that the peace of christ,
the grace of god,
and the image of heaven
is present now.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
disclaimer: i am aware that many, many folks have these experiences and give of their time more often than i. i’m a new
kid adult on the block feeling a little excited, hopeful and pained.
disclaimer 2: none of these photos have anything to do with conference, though OH MY i wished many times that i had had my camera.