Fr. Dan Krutz is the Executive Direct of Louisiana Interchurch Conference. The following is an article he wrote entitled, “For the Healing of the Nations.”
“The angel showed me the river of life, flowing through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:1-2).
We are living in a time when the nations are wounded not only by the Coronavirus but also in many other ways. Some are struggling with authoritarian leadership. Others strive for the resources needed for the well-being of the people. There are many causes for the wounds that keep our nations from healing, wholeness and well-being.
Challenges like global climate change, wealth inequality and racism – all these cause hurt and pain. Yes, we look to our leaders, but everyone is called to be a part of the solution as all of us also need healing in our lives and in our relationships. Instead of shying away from each other, more than ever we need to be engaged with each other.
First we need to be truthful, because only then are we sharing something authentic of ourselves. The first step of gaining trust is to tell the truth to each other. This assumes that we are doing our best to be good listeners. If someone is unable to listen to us, they cannot begin to know anything about us or our concerns. An effective listener can hear someone else’s complaint or concern – her or his story – and not become defensive about it.
When someone has made a mistake, it is a special moment when that person says, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” When we can admit mistakes, healing and reconciliation can happen.
It’s not just individuals who need healing. Right now in our national history, institutions that seemed so stable seem to me to be showing weaknesses and their foundations shifting. The checks and balances that keep our ship of state aright are being blown apart by the political storms of hate and division. State and local politics are also being tested that has, of course, an impact on families and our personal identities. Anxiety and fear have wreaked havoc on our individual and corporate sense of security and well-being. We desperately need healing.
In Ecclesiastes the Preacher said that there is a time and a season for everything, and I humbly put forward the suggestion that we need a healing balm from Gilead. At other times we needed different gifts and graces. Don’t you think with the divisions and wounds within our society and now extending to several other nations, that this is the season for peacemaking and reconciling that bring healing?
Overcoming divisions is the main work of each of us in these times. It is beyond me to think that we can overcome the divisions in our country right now. However, maybe this is the time in history when God’s spirit might enter anew into our hearts and bring transformation. Yes, God can bring about the healing of the nations.
A Prayer for Healing: Loving God, lead us beyond ourselves to care, protect, nourish, shape, and energize the world you have given us. God of courage, lead us through this time of spiritual confusion and public uncertainty. Lead us beyond fear, apathy and defensiveness to new hope in you and each other. Give us the wisdom to grasp what we are facing and to say lovingly what needs to be said. Help us to be brave under the pressure that comes with speaking for justice.
Give us, most of all, the courage to follow those before us who challenged wrong and changed it, whatever the cost to themselves. Jesus, we thank you for your good example. Amen.