Companions on the Journey
By Megan Mines of Elizabeth, PA, USA
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for God will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to God in their hearts. —Psalm 85:7–8 NRSV, adapted
Many people who attend church camp know about the spirit that can be found there. Temple Grove campground holds a place in my heart. I have attended many camps there all my life. On arrival, I am always filled with a sense of belonging, as I pull away from the world to commune with God.
As I arrived at a GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance) retreat, that same peaceful spirit was there. This was my first time to attend a GALA event. As a straight friend and ally, when I heard the retreat was going to be so close to home, I felt I needed to be there.
Attending this retreat was a blessing. Most of the faces were new to me, and I enjoyed getting to know each one. Sharing our stories in small groups was a powerful experience. It allowed us to go deeper together, as we shared the good times and the struggles in our lives. Each of us had unique experiences that brought us to the retreat, but we came together as “Companions on the Journey”—our theme for the weekend.
We lived in community as we shared in laughter and tears, in games and campfires, and in worship. Guest minister Becky Savage, a member of the First Presidency, shared her personal testimony and information from the Community of Christ USA National Conference.
Another highlight was witnessing the baptism of a new member to our faith. This man had been longing to embrace our church, and finally we opened our arms to embrace him as well. Although we are diverse, at our core we unite in Christ. We long for understanding and love—for companionship with one another and with God.
I am thankful to have been a part of this retreat where I forged new lifelong friendships. I look forward to attending in the future. The invitation is open to all.
We are companions in this life. Let us look at each face we see with compassion and love. And let us affirm and uphold one another as we journey together in Christ. There is room for everyone at the table of God. Let us be open to God’s Spirit and the limitless possibilities that God provides when we invest in community together.
Prayer for Peace
We listen, God, as you speak peace to your people. Help us also speak peace to the world.
Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.
Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “challenging” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.
Today, God, I will affirm those I meet on my journey.