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Last week, a guy came to our city. He arrived in a gigantic tour bus and he had a police escort and he stood on the steps of our Capital building and drew a great crowd. I knew he was coming. All around town, for weeks, there had been posted fliers and posters and placards announcing his arrival. I saw the announcements, made a mental note of the date, and reminded myself to avoid the area that day.
In his book, “No Future Without Forgiveness,” Bishop Desmond Tutu writes about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. As he establishes the foundation of the book and sets out to walk the reader through the work of the Commission, Bishop Tutu is careful to make the distinction between retributive justice, and restorative justice…
Jesus knew the power of compassion. He knew that desiring good for those we have named “enemy” retrains our brains and transforms us, through the literal renewing of our minds. Practicing loving-kindness and compassion makes it possible for us to de-escalate divisiveness and point people toward something more.
Though it’s reassuring to realize that Jesus himself, the Son of God, faced opposition and disagreement, this realization doesn’t always help when we face our own conflicts at work. When it seems as if a coworker is trying to throw you under the proverbial bus, your gut reaction might be to retreat or to lash out. However, as followers of Christ, it’s important to remember that our goal is always to build loving relationships and to live at peace with everyone, as much as it depends on us — even at work.
Recently, I asked a group of people to share a few words about their favorite boss. I asked them, “Tell me about your favorite boss ever. What made that person a great boss?”
You and I might quickly look at two boys arguing over who gets to keep a birthday balloon or two distraught women seeking justice when only one baby is left between them, and try to figure out which one is “right.” A longing to be right is often at the heart of so many of our divisions.
There’s a sweet tradition that exists among certain communities. When a person, or a family moves into a new dwelling — whether that dwelling is owned, rented, or borrowed — the occupants of the dwelling invite the community to come and bless the house. Often, a clergy person is invited to lead the event, but that isn’t always the case. Nor is it actually necessary.
“Tell me about Epiphany,” I asked my friends.
I didn’t grow up in a church tradition that celebrated Epiphany, so my knowledge about the day and its traditions is very limited. A quick search on the Internet told me that, in the Western church, Epiphany marks the visitation of the Magi to the baby Jesus. Eastern Christian traditions, remember Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist during Epiphany.
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