I have been privileged to see something wonderful. Something I knew could be possible, but have waited my whole life to be part of. I have seen groups of people cutting through the years of polite estrangements, suspicions, and judgments. I have seen them drop all that energy we carry about what is right, wrong, what needs/must be done. I have seen them let go of their agendas and give them to Jesus to make something of it all.
I have seen folks simply tell the truth together. Not so much the truth of what they think, but the truth of what is under that. “I am afraid that….” “I was so hurt….” “I get angry when….” “I need….” “I have judged you….” “I have felt the weight of your judgment….” “I don’t know what to do….” “We don’t know what to do. We are stuck….”
I have seen folks gather around the truth of one another in new and compassionate ways. I have seen folks seeing things in a new light and asking forgiveness for things both immense and small. I have seen folks and groups forgive one another and be reconciled in authentic and lasting ways. I have seen unsolvable problems be released to Jesus’ wise unfoldings and see new answers emerge. I have seen folks in opposition just come and be with one another in sustained prayer and care for one another’s ache to be faithful. I have seen fresh starts for churches and yearly meetings. My heart has leapt for joy that the good news of the gospel is as astounding as it sounds. God wants to do work in our churches that is far more radical and transformative than organizational and theological rearrangements. God wants to make us a vibrant people. A radiant witness to the world that Jesus is come—and none of us are the same again.
I have also seen the moment of tenderness come and folks stomp out the fragile shoots of Jesus’ invitation to come, sit, be, let him work the miracle. I’ve seen the open hearts trampled by those who felt no need for the humble invitation because they knew they were right. I have seen folks rush right past God’s invitation because they were unwilling to wait in ambiguity. I’ve seen folks get scared and scurry back to the safety of organizational structures and analysis. I’ve seen folks experience the sweet taste of God’s healing among them and then forget to put their rock of remembrance down—and in time they simply slid back into business as usual. I’ve seen folks shunt God’s visitation aside as a one-time experience rather than the abiding space of God’s people.
And yet…I now know what is possible. And I thirst for it. I yearn for this to be the beloved face of Northwest Yearly Meeting. I know it changes the world. I have learned some helpful steps of how any gathered group can make space for Jesus to come and make something wonderful of us.