What I experienced on Monday and Tuesday of this week was the perfect preparation to write about Bobbie Ann Taylor‘s one-little-word MERCIFUL.
My husband and I were asked to be part of our church’s delegation to the annual MLA*’s prayer breakfast, hosted at a hotel just steps away from B.C.’s Legislature in Victoria on Tuesday morning.
After the beautiful ferry crossing Monday afternoon, we arrived in Victoria in time for dinner. An MLA friend who attends our church joined us at Milestones. That began a fascinating time of learning as we conversed and he answered questions about how he navigates the tricky water of provincial politics. No novice (he was formerly the mayor of the town in which I live), he explained how has trained himself to ask questions, listen, and then when the time is right, explain his position. He told of interfaith gatherings where he has joined with Muslims, Sikh’s and people of other faiths in initiatives which they all support.
The prayer breakfast saw around 150 people eating breakfast together (18 tables, with one or two MLAs— representatives of both political parties—at each table). It was an eye-opener for me as I glanced across the room and saw, for example, the former leader of the NDP** party in B.C. who raised his hand when the organizer asked who of them had attended the prayer breakfast for each of the ten years it had been happening. I had no idea and realized I have make judgments while I didn’t have a clue!
The man who, those ten years ago, had the brain child to start hanging out with our politicians for the purpose of lending them spiritual support obviously loves them and is loved back. In this time when politics can be a divider of people, this event was a real encouragement to me.
We stopped for lunch on our way home where each one us (five in all) shared the significance of the event personally. My friend Joyce said she had texted the words of the hymn “There’s a Wideness In God’s Mercy” to her husband as a sum-up of her response. I found those old lyrics were also the perfect expression of my feelings.
As my poem for today (Wednesday—poem-a-day for National Poetry Month and my post for Spiritual Journey Thursday), I’m taking the liberty of using some of the lines of that old hymn as I reflect on MERCIFUL.
Prayer Breakfast Reflections
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea…”
We can live it out when peaceful
we agree to disagree,
when the members, left and right
share croissants, coffee, and tea.
“There’s a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.”
Listen to opponent’s viewpoint
strive to understand and see
common path we walk together
while we guard integrity.
“For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind…”
See the needs that make us human
not by party lines defined
while the prayers of fellow travelers
aid us in the daily grind.
“And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”
On this servant-leader pathway
that by many is maligned
help us all to pull together
as we seek Your mastermind.
© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
Spiritual Journey Thursday is hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.
*MLA: Member of the Legislative Assembly
** NDP: National Democratic Party – the left-leaning party in Canadian national and provincial politics, roughly equivalent to the Democrats in the U.S.
*** “There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Frederick Faber (1814-1863)