It’s good to have another installment of Everyday God delivered. As the old coffee commercial use to boast, it was good to the last drop.
I received. I created. Then I gave it all away. The scariest part is the beginning, when I wait for ideas to come. Then there’s the hard but satisfying labor of pulling and shaping what comes into an opening meditation (crumbs from my daily bread that set the table for the rest of the evening) and our main course, a contemplative prayer practice. It’s interesting to note that what I once feared — the delivery role of facilitator — is no longer scary.
But even (especially?) in a church setting, there is always some fly in the ointment. The lovely women who attended Thursday evening’s practice session were wary of this ‘contemplative’ label, fearful that it may have kept others from attending; yet, every one of them enjoyed the contemplative prayer experience. After a little discussion, they asked if we could remove the ‘contemplative’ word from all future promotions.
“Sure.” Sometimes saying ‘yes’ is easy. So next month, I’ll just call it a women’s prayer circle. Is this truth-in-advertising? Who knows? But the right answer seems to eliminate all scary words; “perfect love casts out fear.”
I received a scary but inviting word myself at the conclusion of Thursday night’s prayer practice. Linda, the Adult Education Coordinator at St. Luke’s, invited me to be a guest speaker at a Sunday morning Advent class. The topic — “Icons of Faith“.
Icon? Now there’ an scary unusual word for my mixed-Protestant ears. But I like the topic. Why? Maybe it’s all those Greek Orthodox and Catholic ancestors on my father’s side coming home to roost. Or perhaps it was hearing the thought that laid behind the “Icons of Faith” label: Each of the lessons (mine would fall second in the series) will allow attendants to receive four personal accounts; stories that tell how a speaker’s faith journey has been influenced by one modern ‘icon’ of faith — a saint, a monk, a priest, a mystic, a whatever.
Each speaker can choose to talk about whomever they wish, with the hope it will open other’s eyes on how the Advent story continues to play out in our own lifetime, in the lives of others whose cup of time we share. The first speaker will focus on Mother Teresa. I’m still pondering, but already I’ve a pretty good idea of who I will talk about.
My initial reaction was to play it safe. I left Thursday night, without offering Linda much hope of an acceptance. But I woke up Friday morning with ‘yes’. And before I could change my mind, I dashed off an acceptance note to Linda.
The scariest word of all is ‘yes’. Especially when it doesn’t become ‘no’ after that eye-opening morning cup of coffee. And who but God knows what lays in front of that ‘yes…