Today I had the privilege of participating in an ideation/visioning session with a group of Christian creatives brought together by Chris Kopka, VP of Strategic Development at Thrivent Financial. We met in the conference room at Mill City Museum…extremely cool…and we ate lunch at Spoonriver…also extremely cool… Isn’t Minneapolis fantastic?
What a treat for a girl who hardly ever leaves her house anymore.
We talked about themes related to social issues and faith, institutions and movements. Our group was small, but mighty. We represented places all over the country. And Canada. Which figured largely in our conversations for some odd reason. And people were from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith traditions within Christianity. We focused our efforts and conversation solely on the goodness we wanted to bring into the world, and the things we might better accomplish together.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Chris asked me to provide the invocation, even though the room was full of pastors (or perhaps for that very reason?) The following jumped out at me as a great way to intentionally call our better impulses to the process.
The impulses that concentrate more on what we have in common and less on where we disagree. The impulses that bind us to a higher purpose. The impulses that fill us with compassion and kindness toward one another. The impulses that allow us to set aside our own agendas and really listen.
Who knew that Mary Queen of Scots would be the originator of just such a prayer? Truly, inspiration can be found everywhere, if only you look for it.
Keep us, O God, from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with faultfinding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretenses and meet each other, face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.
Let us take time for all things; make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put in action our better impulses-straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is the little things of life that create difficulties; that in the big things of life we are as one.
Oh, Lord, let us not forget to be kind.
Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots