Hope Far from Home
Advent and Christmas went by in a flash. Now we’re well into 2020. Even when I was a young kid, the words, “Like sands though an hourglass, so are the days of our lives,” disturbed me. Do the days of our lives really run by as quickly as the hourglass on our black and white TV screen?
Back in 2013, I took the opportunity to spend a year as part of the UCC-EKHN partnership here in the state of Hessen. The challenges have been far outweighed by the blessings over what will soon be 7 years of bridge-building between our churches and of pastoring a unique congregation – at first meant to be for English-speaking folks in our area. What has evolved is a congregation of mostly Germans who have found a place of worship and fellowship and who, for some, have led them back into participation in our host Evangelische Kirche, particularly our host congregation, the Bergkirche.
But I was talking about the hourglass and the sands of time. There has been a price to pay for my one year that has become seven: my young grandsons have become teenagers and my youngest grandson, whose mom had gotten a promise from me that I would be there for and her children when they arrived, still stands as a broken promise. For the first year this Christmastime, the absence of my children and grandchildren, and of my friends in New York City, was very strong. For the first time, I felt lonely.
One day, I found a bright envelope in my office mailbox. It was from Bethany Church in Randolph, Vermont. The brief and beautiful message read, “Sending you warm wishes and thanking you for all you do. Bethany Church is keeping you in our prayers.” My loneliness evaporated. This short note connected me to Bethany and to you who keep me, and keep us, in your prayers. So yes, this is a note of encouragement to you, who are keeping us in your prayers: drop us a line! I read that card from Bethany Church every day.
A couple of days later, I was invited to a gathering of women who are determined to “show up” among the voices and faces against right extremism. They are part of a small movement, Omas gegen rechts – Grandmas against right extremism. Last night I was at a panel discussion on anti-Semitism at the Theater in Mainz. With the painful reminder of the price of silence in the face of political extremism, our partner church has taken a stand against racial and religious hatred.
I asked the “Grandmas” if I could post a photo of some of the group. This was at a recent rally – and notice the sign that says “Opas” – Grandpas against extremism too!
Greetings and love from Wiesbaden,
Rev. Rosalind Gnatt
Rosalind Gnatt serves with the Evangelical Church of Hesse-Nassau, Germany. Her appointment is made possible by gifts to the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, and your special gifts.