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Out of the Ashes Revisited

By Diana Sanchez-Bushong

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Recently, my daughter’s car died on the highway as she was driving home from work. It had been showing signs of trouble that day and then it stopped working. It was distressing to my daughter, inconvenient, and, in many ways, downright depressing. Seeing the car get towed away was sad; getting an estimate on repairs was incomprehensible. What was even sadder was having to take all her possessions out of the car a few days later and say goodbye to “Trudy.” Things break; things change, and we have to let go.

It's been a year since the worship team at Discipleship Ministries presented a worship service called “Out of the Ashes: A Service of Lament in a Season of Disaffiliation.” Much has happened in the United Methodist Church since then. Now, General Conference is upon us, and all are wondering what outcomes we will be facing and what possible wounds we may be dealing with. This is not an easy time.

To some, it may seem strange to suggest that losing a car could compare with losing a church or a community, but we know that every loss is hurtful and that our pain is our pain. We struggle with so many things these days— in our nation and world as well as in the church and our individual lives.

And so, I commend this service to you once again along with all the resources included for you to download. Maybe you need to watch this service ahead of General Conference or maybe after. Maybe you need to watch it at home by yourself, or maybe you need to gather friends who can watch and pray with you at church or another place. Do what you need to do to help you sit with the lament and grief that is part of our wider church right now. This service ends looking to the future in hope, knowing that God is already there even as God is with us now. As Father Richard Rohr states, “If we do not transform our pain, we will always transmit it. Someone else always suffers because we don’t know how to suffer our own wounds.” Acknowledging our pain is the first step toward transformation. These resources were created for that purpose, and we hope you will find them helpful as you journey in this difficult time.

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