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I felt as if he knew me—and I felt He liked me

I've just returned home from Evening Prayer. Four of us tonight; Bob K officiating, Mother Sara and Abbot Basil in the congregation. I read from John -- "I know my own and my own know me." Words about the ways of the Divine Charity. Maybe also about leadership in any sphere.

Hearing the Good Shepherd passage caused me to recall something I read yesterday. 

I've been reading Frances Perkins' The Roosevelt I Knew. She tells a story about the night FDR died and an encounter with a soldier --


On the night he died, a young soldier stood in the silent group which clustered for comfort around the White House where he had lived. The young soldier sighed as I nodded to him and, still looking at the house, he said: “I felt as if I knew him.” (A pause.) “I felt as if he knew me—and I felt He liked me. 


One of the factors in our recent election was the sense among so many citizens that they were not known and not liked by those wanting to lead them.

I'm not going to offer any thoughts about what that says about our fractured nation. I will offer a thought for the Church.

Maybe one thing that priests with pastoral responsibility for parish churches might do is invest their energies to knowing and liking the people of the parish. We would each face having to do that in a manner that fit our personality and gifts. It might be more difficult for some than others. 

I'm not suggesting it is easy to do. My guess is that most parish clergy do try. Some parishioners are easier to know and like than others. But think how we'd grow in making the effort. Think how people would appreciate the very effort. 

If the longing to be known and understood isn't going to be addressed in the social and political arenas, this may be one thing, among others, that the church can do for the next four years.