I have been thinking a lot about how our country is going to heal after this hateful, divisive election.

When I get weary of that, I find myself praying and dreaming about how the church can become a safe place for healing conversations, a promoter of true reconciliation across divides, especially the racial divide that runs deep through the heart and soul of this country and its history.

How does the church become a place of peace and healing for everyone, rather than another divisive voice and presence among many?

I think it has to do first with humility;

believing that we don't know everything,

that we are not always right.

Then with really seeing each other ...

dropping our defensive posture,

listening without always needing to get the last word,

and repenting of our unwillingness to extend a hand to those who are very, very different from us.

Of what are we so scared, I sometimes wonder?

Jesus lived to extend a hand across divides. It is partly what got him in so much trouble.

This popped up in my inbox today ... from one of my favorite sources: Plough.

Isn't it timely?

"For peace, people must meet across differences.

I say to meet people, not just to send them money and offer better professionals.

All need to change.

Fear must be changed into openness.

Those on the rich side need to change and open their hearts to those on the other side. Those on the needy side also need to change; from anger, anguish, depression and a sense of being victims of a society, they must become agents of hope and of love.…

It is only as we meet and share together person to person, eye to eye, and heart to heart that we discover what it means to be human and to discover the joy of being together, working together towards a common mission of peace and unity.

It is only moving from winning and loneliness to collaboration, and from hostility to seeing enemies as friends, that we discover the real meaning of peace."

(Jean Vanier - Acceptance speech for the 2015 Templeton Prize)