When God’s People Gather
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” -Ruth Duck, “We Gather Together,” \xc2\xa9 Ruth Duck, Community of Christ Sings 127
The church has always been a huge part of my life, but I vividly remember when I was privileged to be present at the groundbreaking of the Temple in Independence, Missouri, 25 years ago. With other employees touring the beginning construction of the Temple, we all wore hard hats. I was filled with amazement as we walked behind the huge organ pipes being installed. I daily witnessed the Temple come to life in all its beauty. The combined talents and thought and monetary gifts that made possible the creation of the worshiper’s path, the large windows, the fountain of living water, the World Plaza, and spaces for offices and classrooms was awe inspiring. I found myself in constant wonderment when it was completed and I was able to enter the Temple each day and walk to my assigned office space. To see the Japanese gardeners daily create the beautiful garden below my office was an unforgettable experience.
I was overjoyed to be a very minute part of the workforce assisting with Conference preparations each year. Working at the Temple was an enormous blessing for me. It was a thrill for me to serve among those on the rostrum and look out over that sea of people singing their hearts out. The flags coming into the Auditorium Chamber from various nations and countries never failed to fill my heart with inexplicable joy, and I choked back tears as they and their representatives left to return to their homelands on the last day. The many hugs given and received from various ones with whom we had loved and labored in many places where we have lived were irreplaceable. And there was peace.
But life circumstances sometimes prevent us from doing that which we hope for or have enjoyed and appreciated. I was unable to attend World Conference this year. However, my thoughts were still alive with what was so much a part of my life: the people, the singing, the camaraderie, the renewing of faces and lives from many places and times in the past.
Through all of this, I do not feel sorry for myself as I am grateful beyond words to have been a part of this grand experience for so many years. Rather, I am aware of those who have only dreamed of being among that body of people and never had that opportunity. I am poignantly mindful of those who cannot attend because of physical ailments or financial constraints. I pray that the ministries of the Temple will go out for each one as they gather and are blessed by God’s Spirit, whether here or in the many congregations of worship.
The kingdom of God is among you (Luke 17:21).
Ordinary Time is a season for waking up to what is already here, to the kingdom of God already among us. Spend time each day breathing in the presence of God wherever you are. Notice how simple interactions, tasks, and relationships are sacred opportunities to share and receive God’s love, justice, and peace. Pay attention to the sacred quality of everyday, ordinary life. How is the kingdom of God seeking to be embodied through you each day?
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.