This is the second in a five-part series on where God is calling me next. The first post can be found here.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19 (NRSV)
Luke wrote these words about Mary on the night Jesus was born. But I have to believe Mary was treasuring and pondering from the first moment the angel spoke to her. Her story and the story of Jesus were being formed and knit together long before that first Christmas.
Before each of my children was born, I made them baby blankets. As they were being knit together in my womb, I was knitting (actually, crocheting) baby blankets. For Eldest, I was both child-free and also on modified bed rest the final four months, so I had a lot of time to crochet lovely blankets.
The ones I made for Youngest were a little simpler.
As I finished each one, I put it in the nursery, waiting for the baby to come and be wrapped in love. The time I spent making them was part of my preparation to be a mother. I wondered and hoped and pondered about the baby these blankets would comfort. The picture in my mind was never completely clear; I only had the general idea of what would be. I also knew it would never be exactly like what I pictured.
All of this was treasure I didn’t yet understand.
Over these past months (and really, my whole life), God has been preparing me for my next step in ministry. Like Mary, I have heard words of comfort and challenge. I’ve tried to submit while also participating.
As I wondered and hoped and pondered about what God is calling me to next, God knit together a picture of what that would be. I discerned that God was calling me to something new.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:5-6 (NRSV)
I love the Church for its beauty and its flaws. The Body of Christ continues to knit and form new life. I yearn for others to find themselves hemmed in behind and before in the same way a child is tucked into bed by a loving parent. I yearn for others to know and be known by the Knowledge that is too wonderful for us to understand.
God has called me to birth a new worshipping community. It has been knit and formed within me and is about to come forth. Like my children, I have a picture of what this might be while knowing it will never be like what I picture.
It is too wonderful for me to understand completely.
A worshipping community is not a new church. It is not focused on membership or growth. It is not what we’ve always done before. Instead, a worshipping community is one expression of the Church. It is focused on true community and deepening faith. It can’t be what we’ve done before because God is doing a new thing and there are people that will never step foot near what has been done before.
In this time of Unexpected Sabbath, I began crocheting prayer shawls for what would be. I haven’t known whom they will wrap in love or to whom they may bring comfort. I don’t know their names or their faces or the stories of who they have been or who they are going to be. But God knows. And this, I have treasured and pondered over these last months.
Over the next few posts, I’ll share the vision God has given me for this new worshipping community. I look forward to your reflections and ponderings – and I appreciate your prayers as I begin this next step.
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. – Isaiah 43:19 (CEB)