Flag on a Wall

by Shawn Fisher


I got a call at home about an hour ago. 
"There's a woman here at the church in crisis. Can you come and talk with her?"

It's not the first time I've gotten that call. It won't be the last. At least I hope not. Not because I want people to be in crisis. Just because, if they are, and if we can help, I want them to find us. I want to be there.

She talked. I listened. Her situation isn't easy. They rarely are.

But it was made worse because someone taught her that when these things happen - that God was testing her.


That's all someone needs when they already have so much going on. When they are hurting. When they think there are no great options for their next steps (and often, they are right). When they need some hope. That's all someone needs when all of this is going on - for them to be told that some big spiritual entity is behind it all - doing it to them.

She talked. I listened.

That's what she needed (at least in that moment).
To be heard.
I wasn't going to fix her life.
She knew it. I knew it. That understanding helped.

She talked. I listened.

I invited her to try on a new version of God - one who would also listen. One who would hear her cries. Who would listen to her words and who cares about her pain. One who loves her and cares for her and wants her to be well.

She talked. I listened.
We talked. We prayed.

I let her know she was welcome anytime.
That she would find a supportive group of people here.
That we cared about her.
And she went home.
I don't know if I'll see her again or not.

After she left. I found out how she came to come here.

She was in a relationship with another woman.
For many reasons, things were really bad.
She didn't know where she could go.
She didn't have anyone to talk to.
She decided to go for a walk.

As she walked she thought she should walk by a church.
She came by our church.
It was dark.
But there was a light - and there was a flag.

The light shined on the flag.
It let her feel she would be safe here.

She came to the door.
There just happened to be a meeting going on at that time. 
The door was open and she came in.

Someone from our church approached her. 
She had been right.
It was a safe place for her to come.

She had gone for a walk.
Saw a flag.
Found an open door.
And people who cared.

The church - matters.
Symbols - matter.
Open doors - matter.

And the Holy Spirit is very much real, alive and well.

Peace, Shawn

The Rev. Shawn Fisher is Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church of Bloomfield, CT.

Shawn Fisher

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