• Rebecca Brierley

A Tribal Moment

A guest blog contributed by Journey of Hope participant and inter-cultural reconciler, Ruwani Gunawardene.

Describe a time when you felt the most loved – said an image on a friend’s FB page. Sharon is a singer/songwriter/worship leader. Her songs and her earthy love for God have inspired me from the moment I met her more than a decade ago. This post was about her being on common ground with other songwriters who in response to a song she wrote in their midst, turned to worship God instead of praise of the writer. It struck a chord in me as it was just last Friday, in the Tent in the middle of the City of London that I felt I found my ‘tribe’, or was it that they found me?


We belong in many circles – our family, work colleagues, church community, neighbours that share an allotment, a hobby or a love for sport or music or sexuality. Belonging to whatever group adds another dimension or layer to your identity. In addition to our interests and passions, there is that nagging thing, what some may refer to as a ‘bee in your bonnet’ - a calling. A calling to bring His Kingdom into the presence of daily life. The humanity that Jesus embodied although common to us, at the same time brings so much conflict and division. The power of the Holy Spirit brings about change and understanding of the redeeming love of God, for whom everyone is equal. He has no favourites!

Journey of Hope participants sharing stories in the Bedouin tent at St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace

So I said I found my tribe… I was reminded of an extremely good friend’s wisdom uttered to me with great conviction some 20+ years ago when I got that bee in my bonnet of inter cultural co-existence in Christian community in the context of worship.


“You are a bridge builder, you will always be alone!”


At first I felt this was harsh reality. I had just gone through a divorce and was left with two young children to raise on my own. I was a stay-at-home mum with no income. I had to find work and make a life for the three of us. This episode of my life came flooding in when we were together at the end of Module 6, sitting in the Tent asking ourselves the question, ‘so what has the Journey of Hope meant for you?’. I felt strongly that I was with a group of people with whom I belong. To be a reconciler, is to face personal loss.


I was not alone in this, as others explained their painful situations through tears of reconciliation. For a fleeting moment we were all one. But we have to go our own ways to far flung places in this island and beyond to bring about the vision God has placed in us.


Personal loss during the Journey of Hope was inevitable – a loss of a job that I loved and a place and community that was second home to me was not on the cards when I began the pilgrimage. Stepping out in faith to join this new tribe of reconcilers sure had unforeseen consequences. Yet, there is great peace as I enter this season of advent in my life.


To be a reconciler is to be in those inbetween places which make you feel you don’t belong. Walking the tight rope to juggle situations that contradict each other and be the light that shines on unseen places from the vantage point of one to another.

A celebratory dinner at the end of the Journey of Hope pilgrimage

In Jesus’ words, “whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother”. What better tribe to belong to, what an immense privilege to know 19 other pilgrims with their own tribal calling. We belong together whether we like it or not!


We will never be alone….a precious tribal moment.

You can follow Ruwani on her Journey of Hope via Twitter - @sangall0


Views expressed by participants are not necessarily the views of Reconcilers Together.

reconcilers Together

rebecca.brierley@stethelburgas.org

07453 287925​

78 Bishopsgate

London

EC2N 4AG

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