Each month SheLoves Magazine selects a theme for reflection. This month the word is GATHER. What stirred in my memory was Jesus saying he wanted to gather us like chicks under his mama-wings… Jesus wanted us huddled and pulled in close enough that we could be fed.
But once I was in the thick of the text I noticed another gathering. Jesus alluded to The Great Gathering that all the prophets spoke of, that God dreamed of, people from every direction coming home to Jerusalem on day. The picture is of building highways as pilgrims make their way to the temple to pray together in God’s House. In that house there would be no ethnic or denominational divisions, no linguistic barriers to a shared liturgy of worship, no fracture would break the harmony of our collective song.
This picture of The Great Gathering can only happen in the New City, where we embody the radical inclusion Isaiah spoke of, a kind of city where eunuchs and foreigners not only get in but find full acceptance. It has to be in the New City, where all who enter have already melted swords down into more useful tools, entering the city unarmed of every weapon, hatred and hostility. Only in that shared stance of acceptance and vulnerability can we overcome our fears and prejudice of others and gather as God intended, as God dreams.
This vision of gathering keeps me up some nights. What would it be to come together despite all the reasons not to? What would it be like to stand side by side with those we’ve never seen eye to eye with before and find ourselves in shared space? What would it be like to so enjoy each other that we gave no thought to who is more orthodox, more pure, more devoted? What a great dream, what a Great Gathering.
My offering today feels like a beginning. Honestly, the piece doesn’t feel finished to me. I imagine I’ll be in process with this idea of The Great Gathering for many nights to come…