So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Do you remember the game, “Mother May I?” It is a child’s game with a “mother” who allows you (and the rest of the kids playing) to take steps closer and closer to “the mother.” The one who reaches “her” first then gets to be the next “mother.” The fun part is the phrasing of the questions, like: “Mother, may I take five itty-bity steps or three small steps or one giant leap?” “Mother” gets to decide.
I loved the typical creativity in each kid’s request, as they try to connive the fastest way forward. When I played this as a child, I often thought that some kids were unfairly given the giant leaps and, therefore won. Others, though, won by continually moving forward, even if it was by one itty-bitty step at a time.
This is how many of us may be feeling as we transition into a very different understanding of “togetherness” as a congregation. Some want to take the giant leaps, some want to take smaller steps, and others are ready for only the itty-bitty steps. Here is what I know: everyone has their eyes on the same “prize,” making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
As we make strides to figure out worship, discipleship-making, fellowship time, potlucks, UMW events, greeting each other, and the many ways in which we are church, let’s be gentle with each other. We aren’t all ready to make leaps and yet, some are! I hope that these words from the hymn “Help Us Accept Each Other,” by Fred Kaan, will help us love each other where we are at and move along on our faith journey together.
“Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us. Teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us, and bring us to believe: we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live!” Amen.