I continue to reflect upon and be inspired by an article by Parker Palmer about heartbreak and standing in the tragic gap. Though he wrote the article in 2008 as a continued reflection on the tragedy of planes plunging into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, it is still relevant today. It was then that the culture and community of our nation significantly shifted. We are still shifting and trying to find a balance. 

In 2019 and approaching 2020, we are in this in-between place for our United Methodist Church and we are trying to find balance across this “tragic gap.” I greatly appreciate Palmer’s ability to identify the heartbreak, and yet see the growth and potential which can come from it. He challenges us to name the “tragic gap. ” To call it like it is and then express how it really could be through the God-given vision of being the church.  

When we do this honest reflection, there is often heartache and disappointment. However, Palmer calls us to see that is where God does the re-creating — through the broken heart. It is through the cracks and the gaps of a broken heart that God’s Spirit enters in with the next possibility, the next vision, the next way forward. 

Phyllis Murray (District Lay Leader) and I, are beginning the annual journey across our North District. We will travel from church to church and engage in conversation at each local church stop. We will be guiding a conversation across the “tragic gap” of what is and what could and should be in our vision and hope for the ministry of our local church and our connection.

Our aim is to encourage and challenge each local church to answer God’s call to them in their community. No matter how the world and even the larger church may swirl around, church by church, we must hold steady and continue to faithfully live out the call of Christ in ministry for anyone who seeks a hope and a belonging.  

Looking forward to seeing you soon for our conversation together. 

Blessings through Christ,  

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Parker Palmer’s Article — https://www.couragerenewal.org/PDFs/PJP-WeavingsArticle-Broken-OpenHeart.pdf

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