Hope is a Discipline: Newsletter for October 4th

Dear Church,

Tonight at sundown marks the holiest day in the Jewish calendar: Yom Kippur. It is a day of atonement, and repentance that sets the tone for the year ahead. You might wish a Jewish sibling or colleague an easy fast.

I was thinking this week about a statistic I read years ago. Young people who engage in conversation across lines of religious difference before the age of 18 are much more likely to carry on that work as adults. When I worked as a high school chaplain it was a data point that informed both our ecumenical and interfaith programming.

While I don’t have the same kind of data on other demographics? I strongly suspect the same is true for conversations across other lines of difference, too. I wonder this week if we might hear a sacred invitation from the Holy One to reach out to a neighbor who challenges us? Activist Mariame Kaba says that hope is a discipline. It is something we have to practice.

This is the Jesus Way. When the world gets too loud, and the secular platitudes fall flat? When the urge to demonize one another wells up? We answer with connection, with resurrection, and with hope. The Rev. Stephanie Spellers says it like this: we link arms and walk the loving, liberating, life-giving way Jesus showed us, humble but not humiliated, healing but not dominating, smarter than any serpent but never as cruel. We do not stop. We answer each threat of fear and division with resurrection, and with hope. Keep practicing.

Blessings and gratitude,

Rev. Heidi