Written by Canon Lisa Senuta
Ironically, it was the Roman infrastructure of roads and cities and commerce that made the spread of the gospel so effective and pervasive in the first and second centuries. A beautiful paradox that the same brutal rule that killed Jesus and martyred Christians was also the very vehicle that spread abroad the peace, mercy and presence of God through the Holy Spirit building up communities of faith, hope and love.
The anxious and uncertain social and political times we live are the background of our daily life. My teenage daughters feel the anxiety so deeply even though they do not fully understand the polarizing politics that divide our nation and communities. Like many, both felt attacked by their own government that Roe V. Wade was overturned.
I felt compassion for my girls yet I know disagreement regarding the legal right to choose to abort a fetus has been going on for as long as I have been alive. I remember taking Women’s Studies at KState and returning home to my Italian Catholic family and experiencing my own awakening to the tension in the 80s. A feminist and a catholic, I have always felt the power of this disagreement in my veins.
Often to be spiritual and religious means we do not fit neatly into the political rhetoric of the day. Our official Episcopal stance does not fit on bumper sticker. Instead, we hold an appreciation for the complexity that reveals our preference for action over debate. Whatever the future holds, to be spiritual and religious means we must act in ways that reveal the awesome expanse of compassion and grace that God holds all of humankind.
Like the Roman Roads, these anxious political and social times are the paths the church travels to bring the Shalom of God to individuals and communities.
The disciples were sent out on those roads with nothing for the journey. The power of this orientation is the vulnerability of being divested from security is the freedom to do the work of healing. It is counter intuitive to travel the roads of anxiety defenseless and yet it is only then that we rely on the mercy and grace of God. Where will these roads lead the church, only God knows, may we be faithful to our calling.