Rev. Chris Rice, Co-Director, Center for Reconciliation
Lectionary TextsEzekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 104:1a, 24-35; Romans 8:14-27; Acts 2:1-14, 22-47
Quotes from the Last 24 Hours“The way things are is not the way things have to be.” – the Rev. Chris Rice during plenary
“The world can be changed in a zip code.” – the Rev. Chris Rice during plenary
“I guess we can’t hide all our problems.” – A student during mentor group
Reflections on the Lecture
In our plenary session this morning, the Rev. Chris Rice talked with us about reconciliation and what it means for us to be reconciled. He framed the discussion with the understanding that reconciliation is a gift. We were asked to wrestle with the reality of our own historical challenges, like Rwanda. Several stories were shared and questions were asked. The Rev. Rice asked us to consider, ”What kind of Christianity are we being baptized into when you can have Eucharist in the morning and kill in the afternoon?” Our baptismal journey is very much a journey into a new reality and a new “we.” “Here’s the point,” suggested the Rev. Rice, “We don’t get to choose who our people are. God chooses who our people are.” With problems and issues so big, the calling of reconciliation can seem overwhelming; and we began to see how far we have to go. Yet, the Rev. Rice encouraged us, although “reconciliation is as big as the Rwandas of the world, as big as the border, as big as race … it’s never bigger than the person nearest to you to love.”
Following lunch today we boarded buses and began our Durham Pilgrimage. We visited the American Tobacco Campus and Bennett Place. We saw the beauty of the old abandoned tobacco warehouses that have been renovated into productive office spaces. At Bennett Place (the site of the largest troop surrender of the Civil War) we saw the well-traveled road where Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and Union General William T. Sherman met to negotiate the terms of surrender. We also saw a monument of unity – two pillars or columns (one representing the north and one the south) with a beam across the top labeled “UNITY” – which signifies the unification of our country. Upon returning from the pilgrimage, the DYA community was asked to consider what they saw/heard and what was missing (what they didn’t see/hear). We wondered about the history of the American Tobacco Campus and about those who were displaced by the development. Regarding Bennett Place, we wondered about the suffering and destruction that occurred and about the stories we didn’t hear, particularly those of African-American soldiers. Tonight our worship spilled over into a portion of our mentor group time, but no one seemed to mind as we worshiped together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope.