“One of the most important concepts… to be an engaged participant in any human process… is the capacity to stand and act in the tragic gap. By the tragic gap I mean the gap between the hard realities around us and what we know is possible — not because we wish it were so, but because we’ve seen it with our own eyes.”
—Parker J. Palmer, Theologian
As members of the LVC community, we have accepted Parker Palmer’s invitation to stand and act in the tragic gap: to seek justice even at times when your dreams seem out of reach. Whether we’re pursuing justice professionally, through the mission efforts of our churches, as volunteers, or through our charitable contributions, we have experienced precious moments of justice realized and community built.
Members of the LVC community take this call in many different ways – leaders like Jeremy Schroeder (Baltimore, 2000-2001), who won a city council seat in Minneapolis this year. Pastor Lura Groen, continues to transform the ELCA into a church that lives into Christ’s example of radical hospitality for the LGBTQI community. Our partner, Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, hosts several LVC Volunteers each year as it transforms a community beset with poverty.
In speaking about the “tragic gap,” Parker Palmer recalls the life works of many “known and unknown” social justice heroes who spent their entire lives in the tragic gap without seeing their dreams realized. Whether speaking of known heroes like Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, or unknown heroes like Shauna Malone (Baltimore, 1994-1995) Joel Workin (Wilmington, 1983-1984), or Pastor Maggie Lux Cumings (Milwaukee, 2002-2003), these people served justice daily with faith, but no promise, that justice would be achieved.
The beauty of the Advent season is that it reminds us all that there is hope of a miraculous new beginning just around the corner. Jesus lived his life in the tragic gap believing that we would follow his example. His life invites us to live ours fully, with the same faith that he had in the miracle of peace and justice to come.
Poet Gloria Anzaldúa reminds us of this when she says,
“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar
Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.”
Your gift to LVC is your invitation to others to join you on this faithful journey, and pick up the baton when you are no longer able to serve. “A year of service, a lifetime of commitment” is what we ask of our Volunteers, and our nearly 3,000 alumni overwhelmingly credit their LVC experience with their continued involvement in social justice issues.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thank you for your support.
Sam Collins, President