Friday, July 23, 2010

Singing in the Tunnel

Singing Veni Spiritus in the Tunnel, Marking Reconciliation

By Maria Erling
ELCA Delegate to the LWF Assembly

The procession underground went through the modern, granite surfaced tunnel between the plenary hall and the worship room. Were there a thousand of us? Hard to tell from the front, where the Mennonite and Lutheran choirs sang their way through. We sang a version of “Come Holy Spirit,” and it carried us into a service of confession. The tunnel gave our song a rich welcome. The prayer echoed ahead of us and behind.

photo by Arni Svanur Danielsson
Then began a service of testimony and song that recited the stories of persecution. We heard stories of the Anabaptist martyrs and learned how another community was formed. We listened as our Mennonite sisters and brothers acknowledged that a dark history told by victims can also do a kind of damage, and prevent a people from becoming all they can be. So, both of our communities will be transformed by this, and in that work made more fully alive in Christ.

But the other healing thing that happened through this honest recital was that we Lutherans, that is all of us – African, Asian, Latin American, European, Nordic, and North American - accepted that the harm done in the 16th century and continued through five centuries is a history that would not be buried or forgotten by us.

So we sang our way through to a new day.

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