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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Come back and sit down'

I learned a lesson on unity and diversity

During the Vietnam War, Edmund Smits and I were part of a small group of faculty at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., who regularly met to share concerns and pray. Having lived under the Soviet occupation of Latvia, Smits had intense fear of and disdain for communism. He believed the United States in Vietnam was like Christ going to the cross to save the world from godless communism. I believed we were more like the soldiers who nailed Christ to the cross.

During one of our meetings, conversation became so intense that Smits began to walk out of the room. Our leader, Bill Smith, shouted, "Edmund! Come back and sit down!" Like an obedient child, Smits returned. We talked some more, joined hands and prayed. We left the meeting still friends and caring colleagues.


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