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Community of Faith: Back to our roots to feed the soul

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I just watered one of the plants in my office and watched the cool, shimmering water seep down through the rich, brown dirt, trusting it would reach the roots and sustain the life of this intricate vine.

How profound life is.

In the tiniest acts and the simplest occurrences, we discover such hope and God-given promise.

It seems to me it is time for us to water our roots. Not only is this the season of Lent in the Christian community - which is our journey of forty days leading up to Easter - but we are also entrenched in a contentious world of politics and social activism. As time advances, such focuses are taking up more and more of our precious time; while we are less and less hopeful anything will change or make a difference to create a just and compassionate society.

We have heard considerable conversation about civility - especially in local, state and federal government activities. Certainly it would appear to be appropriate to share our concerns. Yet, I am drawn to wonder if that conversation has led us to deflect the obvious responsibility each of us has, in our own lives, to remember the scriptural challenges of Jesus (and others) to accept those who are different from us and to speak and act with compassion all of the time, not just when it is convenient.

If on an individual level we are unable to embrace diversity and welcome fervent discussion without allowing our antagonism to distort our methods of communication, then we have clearly lost our way. Like the roots of my plant, we need to be watered periodically in order to sustain the vibrancy of our lives; we need to be fed. We need nourishment which reminds us of who we are and how we survive. We need to remember our roots.

Belligerence will never successfully take the place of genuine listening and sharing. Seeking what is best for everyone - including the least of our life's companions (meaning they have the least with which to bargain) - will always be the life-blood of a thriving society. Looking into the eyes of our enemies and recognizing a soul who, like us, seeks justice and mercy, will surely lower our level of adversity.

Road rage, violent spousal abuse, sexual deviancy all are obvious ways in which some folks threaten to destroy the calm and peace every one of us wishes to enjoy. In the same way, racial slurs, demeaning put-downs and inappropriate jokes, bullying behavior and a "me-first" mentality will eventually lead us to the same end.

Let us pause on our everyday journey and take time to consider the other person so our actions and words reflect what we would like to see from our legislators, from our world's people and leaders.

Time to go back to our roots and remember what truly nourishes our souls!

Vicki J. Horn is the clergyperson at Grace United Methodist Church. She can be reached at Grace United Methodist Church, PO Box 2999, Missoula, MT 59806, (406) 549-3855, (406) 529-1363 or

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