From Gangland to Promised Land: An Evening at Theology on Tap

I have to admit that when I first heard the topic of John Pridmore’s talk for the September 30th Faith Connections’ Theology on Tap, I was both intrigued and intimidated. Intrigued because I had never heard someone give a personal witness about such a dark topic, and intimidated because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to relate to his story. I had no need to worry; although John’s story is very different from my own, there is a current running between them both: God’s love. John explained that part of his conversion was coming to understand that he is loved by God. I had to stop and reflect: have I acknowledged today that God loves me? As I thought about everything I had done that day, I realized that not once had I consciously acknowledged that God loved me. Later, during the Q&A, John said that often people spend a lot of time trying to love God, but they don’t just let God love them. What would it look like if we opened up and let God love us in all of our brokenness? John suggested that God’s pure love drives out our fear. If we can remember that God loves us unconditionally, can we be more open and loving with other people and expect nothing in return? I find that so hard to do. There are days when I help other people, but I selfishly want those people to do something for me or to praise me. Those are the days that I most need to rest in God’s love; a love which will energize me to love others. Those are the days that I pray:
Oh Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console, To be understood, as to understand, To be loved, as to love For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

— 2nd Stanza of St. Francis of Assisi’s Serenity Prayer
Reflection by: Lauren van Vilet Photo by: Vanessa Gamrose