by Rachel Stacy
Balancing several writing projects while touring another country is proving challenging but in these liminal spaces I feel incredibly aware of the world around me and my own processing of all these experiences. Yesterday in effort to get something out for this Lenten project, I sent a piece to the QUF editors that I had written for another audience. I finished my other work and settled into a short night’s sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I had two emails in my inbox. One was from Anthony suggesting that we wait on the piece I had sent and instead publish a piece he felt led to write in response to a previous post. The other email was from a dear friend who reminded me to spend time each day in worship to center and stay grounded in this dynamic life.
As I left for my day, I felt extremely grateful for a community that encourages me to listen deeply and live into the stream of the Spirit. As Anthony wrote: “Lent, on the other hand, is a time of “repentance,” recalling Christ’s period of temptation in the wilderness.” The temptation in my life is in filling my life with so many projects that I leave out needed moments of prayer. When I am ungrounded I am more likely to act contrary to my beliefs, lose a sense of integrity, and well… complain a lot. To be the person I feel called to be, I sometimes need reminders and support. Lent is a good time to be thankful for the loving accountability offered to me by my community.
In this state of thankfulness, I returned from my day and sat down to check the news and my email. I had found moments throughout the day to listen deeply to that small still voice. A meeting with a Muslim woman my age, about the Jordanian Alternatives to Violence Projects(AVP), had formed a beautiful sisterhood. I felt deeply inspired to live into my faith and by such supporting others to do the same. In such state, I perused my Facebook news reel and came across an outrageous YouTube video discussing the role of Christians during the time of Lent.
This young woman claims that the earthquake in Japan was a direct result of Christians around the world praying for the souls of atheists. She is amazed that within one day of the start of Lent, God answered the prayers of Christians to show atheists the presence and power of God. This young woman continues on to warn the world that if non-Christians do not find salvation before Easter, 2011 they too will feel the wrath of God.
The contrast between my experiences with a faith community that supports and encourages each other with a declaration of faith that is vengeful caused me to pause. “How can you be Christian and think the earthquake was caused by God’s anger?” I said out loud to my computer. In line with Pat Robertson’s past comment about Haiti, this YouTube video challenges my identity as a Christian. I’m embarrassed by this Christian perspective and I hope that my new Muslim sister does not think less of me because of my faith’s extremes. It’s a good reminder that other faiths, such as Islam, also has its spectrum of perspectives and for such we all need to be tender and open with each other.
So tonight I settle into a state of worship with the events of today sitting heavy on my heart. My prayers go out in thankfulness for the graceful accountability extended to me today and for a new sister in the work of non-violence. I extend my prayers for the victims of the tragedies around the world due to flooding, earthquakes and fires. And finally, I pray for that young girl in the video, that she may experience the radical love of God that always wins in the end.