Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 6, 2012

Coming together as a community can transcend differences

Faith Notes

Rev. Kathryn Franzenburg - Evangelical Lutheran Church
Daily Iowegian

APPANOOSE COUNTY — We cannot live meaningful lives in isolation. Meaning is always communal...with God, with others and with creation.

Recently I had the privilege of seeing the movie “The Miracle.” It took me back to my days when I lived in Alaska. The setting was Barrow, Alaska and having visited there I was somewhat familiar with the community. What stood out for me was the coming together of people with different understandings, different cultures,  different gifts, different resources, government and non-government workers, Democrats and Republicans, Russians and Americans all working together, willing to risk their lives for the sake of saving a part of God’s creation — a family of whales trapped in the Artic ice fields. A favorite comment of mine in the movie was from the Green Peace activist and the CEO of the Oil Co., while meeting each other face-to-face, out on the ice, in sub-zero temperatures:    “It is really hard for me to hate you seeing how much you care!”   

How easy it is for us to hate that which we do not understand. But Jesus called us to a different way — the way of love. Not simply to love your neighbor as yourself, but even more to love as Jesus first loved us. Jesus died for us and in dying, he also revealed what he was willing to live for — us! In 1 Peter 3:18 we are told, Jesus died in order to bring us to God that we might know God’s love for us. I think of how deeply God desires for us to know God’s love for us and for all God’s creation...are we listening? How will we respond? St. Francis Prayer says it all:

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.