Gary Gunderson, a public health professional and hospital administrator, was speaking at an academic meeting in Milwaukee on disparities. The speaker right before him laid out the evils of racial disparities so thoroughly that death filled the air. ‘If we let death define our efforts it will win every time,’ he thought. Gary tossed aside his planned speech and approached the podium singing a version of the African American spiritual “Down by the Riverside.” Garry began to sing “Ain’t gonna study death no more.” Gary said “for the first time, that day I spoke about being accountable to life, and I noticed ten minutes into the speech, that people’s posture changed…….I can assure you it isn’t that I’m such a great speaker, but that the subject of life reminds people of what is most powerful.”
I’m really excited about our multi-sensory worship series in October on “Leading Causes of Life” (based on the book by that title by Gary Gunderson and Larry Pray). A powerful shift happens when we focus not on what can prevent death and disability but instead as: what is it that makes for life? Every Sunday in October the focus will be on one of the five leading causes of life: connection, coherence, agency, blessing and hope.
Instead of focusing on the negative, what could happen in our lives together if we zero in on what make for life – not just survival but the kind of life that generates more life? I look forward to seeing you in church in October, as we find our answers to this question.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Marianne Cotter
P.S. On October 16th a special offering will be received to support the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The goal of the “Water and Sanitation Fund” (Advance Special #3020600) is to prevent disease and improve health and nutrition through 49 water and sanitation projects in 22 countries.