Pastoral Reflection, the Second Week of Epiphany, the 57th Week of Official Pandemic Status - January 22, 2021
Years ago as a tour guide and bus driver in Alaska I had a co-worker who was exceedingly outspoken about the uniforms we wore. It’s true they were awful, medium-blue pure polyester slacks, white shirt, blue tie, and suit jacket. Yes, for both the men and the women.
Some people just knew how to bring personal panache to uniformity, one way or another. Some just didn’t care. We were well-paid after all, and the clothing was free. But one man’s litany of bitter objection never ended.
It took me years to realize that what really bothered this guy was simply that it was a uniform. He just didn’t like having to conform to something in which he had no say. This helps me to understand many things in our culture today—from resistance toward mask-wearing to the actions of fringe groups in society.
Being human community together is hard. How do we succeed in our country, in our churches, in our schools, in our homes? While sharp differences will always be a fact of our shared lives, we have tools to help navigate differences: mutual kindness, a spirit of cooperation, forbearance, generosity, and wisdom. The good news that Jesus brings is implicit in such things as these.
Last week the youthful emerging poet Amanda Gorman shared her gifts with our nation. These words ring in my mind still: “But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.” I hear the sound of Jesus’ voice in these words and it gives me great hope.
Blessings, Pr. Beth
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.