Faith Voices: Build Something New – Rev. Eric Banner

“This earthquake has left us all limping, wounded, partially empty, sleepless. We’ll never again be what we were. Each of us will have to decide if we’re better or worse. Inside, and occasionally outside as well, we were in a storm, a hurricane has passed over us and the calm we’re enjoying now contains uprooted trees, collapsed roofs, torn-off TV antennae, and rubble, lots of rubble. Obviously, we have to rebuild ourselves: to plant new trees, but maybe we won’t have the same shoots in our nurseries, the same seeds. It’s fine for us to build new houses, but is it a good idea for the architect only to faithfully reproduce the previous plan? Wouldn’t it be infinitely better for him to rethink the problem and draw a new plan, one that takes into account our current needs? To clear the rubble, as far as possible; because there will be rubble that nobody can clear from their hearts or memory.”

– Mario Benedetti, Springtime in a Broken Mirror, pg. 158, translated by Nick Caistor

In our lives, in our relationships, when something has been broken, when walls have come tumbling down, when the earthquake has shaken all that we thought we knew and when hurricanes have blown down the trees, and the roofs, and the antennae of our lives, we are always tempted to just try to get back what we’ve lost. Tempted to rebuild what was before the breach. Before the brokenness. We just want to get back to what is normal. Was normal. Even if what was there before wasn’t, well, all that solid to begin with.

These are the challenges we face, and what I know is that we have a choice. That we can choose differently. That we needn’t just re-create the mess that was held together by sticky tape and Elmer’s glue, but that when things have been broken, we can choose something new. It takes time, effort, compassion and consideration. This is all true. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to have something that isn’t just re-assembled, but built to survive the next storm, whenever it comes. A new way is possible. And from that we draw our faith in a future that is wider, stronger, and more loving, than any we have ever known.

– Rev. Eric Banner
First Universalist Church of Denver
Denver Metro Faith Leaders Caucus

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