In my congregation each week we share the prayers of the community: speaking aloud the joys and sorrows that mark our days. These days, we hear a lot of worries, alongside the usual mingling of celebration and lament. Members of my congregation are worried about their jobs, their health and their families. What will happen if they lose their job? What will they do if they can’t afford insurance? How will they keep their balance at the edge of a bankruptcy brought on by medical bills?
And alongside their concern, many are frustrated, feeling that their worries are scattered away and lost in the wilds of partisan politics. Some have given up hoping that the help they need can be accomplished in a climate of such fierce division. Sometimes it seems in Missouri that we have, as Mother Teresa once put it, “forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Often in our prayer for the community, we invoke God this way: “Source of Love, in whom we are one people, bound together in every joy and every sorrow.” For us, this invocation names the world as it is and as God desires it to be. We are connected to one another as a single human family, whether we wish it or not. And amid such connection, we seek the restoration of God’s kingdom in which all people are reconciled. We long to be neither scattered nor divided, but gathered together, restored to the homeland of all-inclusive compassion and universal love that our faith proclaims.
The leadership we need now will be rooted in the recognition that wherever we are bound as Missourians, we are bound together. A flock divided will fall prey to wolves and worse – and today in Missouri the wolves of suffering are at our door. It is time to be gathered together once more. And then we “shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall ANY be missing.” (Jeremiah 23:4)
Reverend Molly Housh Gordon, Pastor, Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia