Trust What Is Being Born
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. -Isaiah 2:3-4
In the online Spiritual Formation Series Spirituality Along the Edges, Linda shared a powerful testimony about being formed in the church but longing for a different way of gathering that was more relational, spiritual, and mission-focused. She shared with depth about the strong desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus with other young families in her community. Following this longing, she risked creating a new spiritual community-Beyond the Horizon. It has been a continual journey of discernment, and their intentional but informal gatherings sound like a taste of the kin-dom of God.
As they deepened in Christ-centered relationship together, a way of living mission emerged, and they now spend twice as much time forming community with their neighbors who lack permanent housing than in their own small group experience. The relationships have become so deep, real, and mutually transformative that Linda and her husband chose to spend their anniversary dinner sharing with the men in the transitional living shelter who have become like family. The Spirit is coming alive in a group of young families choosing to risk new ways of gathering together.
Yoga ended as it always does-with an invitation to enter silence and return to the rhythm of our breath. Our yoga instructor, a woman in her early 30s, connected our practice to nonviolence and compassion. She led us through a meditation of self-compassion and compassion for others that brought me to tears of gratitude, joy, and presence. I looked curiously around the room at a growing number of spiritual seekers who are looking for ways to explore their spiritual lives and feel a sense of belonging. Though many would probably not be in church on Sunday morning, I had a strong sense that this, too, was holy encounter. I prayed silently, “God, what do you want me to notice about how you are present here?” The Spirit is coming alive in people who are gathering outside of the church to find meaning and connection.
A perfect autumn night prompted us to start a fire in the backyard. The inviting aroma of the campfire brought our neighbor into our backyard where he stayed for nearly an hour as we shared conversation together. The Spirit is coming alive as we grow in relationship with our neighbors.
This is the pulsing heart of Advent-just when we cannot imagine what will happen next, we remember that incarnation is eternal, continuous, and happening right now. Sometimes I spend so much time worrying about what will happen to the church that I forget to see where Christ’s love and presence are coming to birth all around me. The Spirit is coming alive everywhere I can see! Do you sense it? This Advent, what does it look like in your life and community to trust what is being born?
“Trust what is being born” (Stephen M. Veazey, Words of Counsel, 2019).
Deepen your breathing as you enter a few moments of silent presence to God. Pay attention first to your own life as you gently ask and notice, “What is most alive in me right now? What is being born in me?” After a few moments of silent listening, ask these questions of your community, the church, and the world. Notice how the Spirit is revealing new life and possibility as you prayerfully ask these questions over time.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.