This week, we entered together into the often challenging conversation around the intersection between race, politics and our faith in Jesus. Many of us when even hearing that topic named already begin to distance ourselves. But Pastor Donnell’s deceptively simple practical tip this week invites us to stay engaged. Despite its seeming simplicity, this is one of the most difficult things we can be asked to do. It is painful to stay engaged in a conversation that touches on so many complex areas of both our communal and personal identities as well as our fraught relationships with one another. Pastor Donnell helpfully quoted Dr. Brené Brown, who asks us to, “Reclaim the ability to hold space for pain and discomfort.” As we make our way together as a church, we need to recover a lost skill, which is sitting in pain and discomfort with each other. We must also regain the ability to sit before God with our honest and unbridled selves, bringing our pain, frustration, grief, anger, incredulity, and lack of understanding with us.
As you pray this week, try to practice holding this painful and uncomfortable space before God. Set aside a devoted space of time— it may be five minutes, or twenty depending on what you feel your capacity is— to sit in silence before God. Allow whatever thoughts and feelings you have about the intersections of race, politics, and faith to emerge. If your thoughts wander, confess this, and gently correct yourself to refocus on the topic. Do not try to mask what you are feeling. Come with as much honesty as you can muster and trust that God already knows what is on your heart and in your mind and loves you regardless. Remember that in all things, Jesus has gone before us, and is making a way for us. Remember that he is making all things new. Let us take comfort in the promises of Hebrews 4: 4-14:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.