We’ve gathered again and it was good. I would even dare say: very good.
Over the holidays Tim and I had talked about Gathering again. Four weeks ago, we had the first Gathering with this group. We do NOT have a set agenda, but the context is to find out what is on people’s hearts and how we can apply faith to the situation.
Today, we experienced a beautiful space of listening and trust, of compassion and support. Today, I brought up this… when Tim and I talk about community, invariably we wind up talking about ‘taking care of the least of these‘. We know people that struggle with mental health problems, and how do you minister to them? Where is the line between counseling and spiritual ministry? In the past one of our participants was stuck in a bad relationship and that was all that was talked about – when it turned into spouse bashing I put a stop to it.
This started a conversation about spiritual battles that some in the group are dealing with. We often are impacted by other people, their harsh judgments or rumors. Now, given we don’t know what may be going on with them, how do we pray… what do we pray for? Somebody offered that we ought to look at our brothers with higher regard than for ourselves… “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2). Somebody else said that often insecurity and fear are at the root of that behavior. We could pray that we want them to be free of their insecurity and fear.
The other person shared about dealing with more than the winter blues… a spiritual hole that seemed to be caused by the ego as well as a lack of spiritual connection, compassion and empathy. Then Tim asked what it could look like to meet somebody with that humility and recognize God in them. Could we try that among ourselves? We did. We took turns, one of us would walk up to one other, make eye contact and ‘be’ with the other and God over there. We experienced profound love and wound up laying hands on some of our Gathering and praying over them.
I am still sitting with this. It is a beautiful thing when we can connect in God’s love, and in humility.