In this next week, as the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving wanes and Advent approaches, I want to share with you a few reflections. I know these thoughts will strike deeply for some because they echo the thoughts in my poem, Stepping Away, which received moving and profound comments. For others, they may raise questions or concerns. That’s okay. Sit with the thoughts, the questions, the concerns. God will respond to you through the Spirit as he always does, uniquely in his own way.
First, I am thankful I have learned to recognize my Shepherd’s voice. I am thankful I have learned to rest in him and with him. And I am thankful he chose the perfect time to open my eyes and lead me to himself. I am thankful he comforts me and grants me exquisite peace.
Second, I am thankful for my church. Not the building I visit occasionally on Sunday mornings; that is not my church. That is a place where I go to hear worship music, visit a handful of friends, and give and receive a few hugs.
My church is my home, the place where I abide in God’s love and grace and share it with others. My church is the place where I can have serious and lengthy discussions about doubt and the Spirit without worrying about how I’m dressed or how many tattoos I have or whether what I say is wrong or right according to legalistic doctrine.
My church is anywhere I can speak about being awed by the wonder and mystery of God in my life, can reveal the tears of joy he brings to my eyes and never be ashamed or feel awkward at the sheer glory of his light warming my heart.
My church is here with you, where I’ve felt safe enough to present poetry of praise, and opinions about God’s love and mercy for all, and have been welcomed and accepted as family, as a sister in Christ, as a wholly loved and precious daughter of our Father who wraps his grace around each of us.
My church has given me hope in the body of Christ. Because I have seen we are not all “those kind of Christians.” We are the faces of Jesus. We are welcoming, open-hearted, loving, followers of the One who brought us back to God.
In light of this, I extend an invitation.
The next four Sundays of Advent, (Nov 30-Dec 21) I’ve invited members of my church to share their sense of Hope. Now I know on occasion, when we receive a notice of a blog we follow and see it’s a guest blogger, we don’t read it. I’m guilty of that myself sometimes. However, I’m asking you as a member of my church to nourish yourself. Allow your heart to open. I can honestly say you will be uplifted, edified and maybe even changed.
Since I usually post my poetry on Sundays, during this time I’ll post the poems on Wednesdays instead.
church is Jesus’ heart
love, grace, mercy, compassion
giving it away
My church is the church Jesus continues to build inside my heart through the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that yours is, too.