My family of ten lived in a small house fifteen miles from the nearest neighbor. And we were, to quote my father, “all chiefs and no Indians” so conflict was simply a part of everyday life. Some of us thrived on this assertive exchange of ideas and opinions. Others developed some pretty awesome conflict management strategies. Every so often, however, a disagreement between some of us would take root and the resulting dis-ease would begin to affect the entire family. It was at this point that one or more people would intervene and insist the two parties be reconciled. These peacemakers would help each to see the other’s point of view and would insist that the aggrieved parties work out their differences. We learned, as a result, to let go of our hurt and anger and confront one another in love.
Confront means to turn your face toward. It is the opposite of turn your back on. I look at people I care about. I look at people I want to talk to, to listen to. I look at people I love. Confrontation begins with, “I love you, I value you, so it hurts me that we are estranged.” It continues with an exchange of how I believe you offended me and how you believe that I offended you. This exchange invariably leads to uncovering misunderstanding.
Long ago when Randy and I were first married and in the process of moving from Missoula to a ranch in Deerlodge, I was frustrated with him for making decisions without consulting me. I could concede that some of these decisions had to be made quickly with no time for consultation, but I was still angry. I was especially unsettled that his father, who had come along to help us get settled, seemed to have taken up permanent residence. When we finally sat across from each other, I was angry and indignant.
“You are making decisions without me!” I said.
“Like what?” he replied.
Like your father living with us,” I said triumphantly.
“Who knew!” he replied, equally frustrated. We both sat there, stunned, suddenly in the same confused predicament, allies, not enemies. Who knew?
Now I must say that we sorted this out and Randy’s dad continued to live with us for many years. His presence was a blessing in our life. But so was that experience of confrontation. It has reminded me again and again, that no matter what, Randy and I are on the same side and it is in this reality that our disagreements must always be rooted.
Sometimes we simply act badly. Our hurtful acts may be inadvertent. They may, if we are honest, just be mean and uncalled for. If we truly seek reconciliation, we must tell the truth. Some days I am a small, mean ugly thing. My small, mean, ugly words and actions need to be confessed. And I need to ask forgiveness. As hard as it was as a child (and is even now!) to admit to wrongdoing, I learned two important things. First, my honesty provoked honesty in others and more important, my honesty made way for true healing. Truthful confession must proceed authentic forgiveness. And forgiveness opens the way to love.
Jesus says in this Sunday’s gospel that whatever each of us binds on earth is bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth is loosed in heaven. Simply speaking, Jesus is telling us that God doesn’t “fix it”. If I choose to harbor resentments, to hang on to jealousies, grievances and grudges, God will not intervene. My life will certainly be smaller, uglier, and meaner if I choose to cut off all who offend, but that is my choice. However, if we want something more, something bigger and better, Jesus gives us advice. “Confront those who wrong you,” he says. “Go and talk to them. Take a friend. Take three friends. Take the whole church! Turn your face to one another in love and with honesty and forgiveness, make peace. Set loose the power of love and forgiveness and reconciliation. Who knows what might happen!”
We will live stream services from the church for the next few weeks until the infection numbers come down in Canyon County. Please wear masks, eat healthy and get a lot of fresh air and sunshine so we can get back to worshiping together in person as soon as possible!
Due to the increase in coronavirus cases in Canyon County, we will be shutting the office except for Wednesday and Friday. If you need to contact Karen+, please call her cell phone, 208-993-0048. Do keep all those who are ill in your prayers and let us encourage one another to be cautious in this difficult time.
Since we are back to online worship, please don't forget your pledge support of Grace. We have an online giving account you can access on the website if that is helpful for you. Your faithfulness in this difficult time has been a blessing!
Spiritual Gifts Workshop Sun, Sept. 13th, 9am-5pm (includes worship). Spiritual gifts are God’s abilities, planted in each of us, that God uses for God’s good purposes. Using your gifts changes the world while filling you with energy and purpose. It’s a core part of faithful discipleship! You’ll learn about 32 different spiritual gifts, how to identify them in yourself and spot them in others. This all-parish event will be live and via Zoom. Potluck lunch. Please let us know if you’ll be joining in the Parish Hall or via Zoom. In preparation for the workshop, you’ll receive a “Gifts"-Bag with things you’ll need for the workshop (and maybe something fun too). We need to know where you’ll be so we can get that “Gifts”-Bag to you. Please let Mia+ know if you’ll be joining us in the parish hall or at home via Zoom by contacting her at RevMia20@gmail.com or 208-860-7967.
Digital Coffee Hour We’ll be gathering via Zoom for coffee hour right after worship (11:30am). After worship, grab a cup of coffee (or whatever), click on the Zoom link, and check in with each other. Use Zoom link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84399272014?pwd=TkNDL3kxbTVSaXVXREM5bEZaV0tRQT09 or use Meeting ID 843 9927 2014, Passcode 10047.
Book ClubThe final meeting of the Book Club is this Wednesday, September 9th at 7 pm. We are using the previous Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83366271261?pwd=aEVFd0ZCSzJFaGQwTUo4UEJSLzFhdz09. If you have any questions, please contact Mia+ at RevMia20@gmail.com.
Doing School at GraceGrace is offering internet service and tutors to 12 students . The hours are 1 – 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Parents who are interested in sending their students need to register. (Please call the office for this information.) We are using the parish hall so we have good distancing between students. Masks are mandatory, hand sanitizer is in use, windows are open and fans are on for ventilation, and thorough cleaning is done at the end of every day. We are doing everything to be as safe as possible. Our goal is to assist students with their online school work and to provide reading and math tutoring as needed. As things are uncertain regarding in person learning, we are being flexible and seeking to provide the services we can to meet the needs we encounter. We need volunteers for providing snacks. Thanks to Dana Miller and Scott Hudson for providing snacks for this upcoming week! If you feel called to assist with this program or have questions, contact Karen+