It was the morning of New Year’s Eve and we gathered (about 11 of us with a few within earshot too) on this final day of 2017 to discern what God might be speaking to us through scripture. Not a bad way to end a year and to prepare for the beginning of a new one.
As is our custom after opening in prayer (in which naming the blessing of warmth was not forgotten) it was homework check-in time. A variety of scriptures (long & short) were mentioned. The honesty of naming a scripture that became what comforted following the death of a loved one immediately made me think of the quote from the week before — with placing scripture on our hearts so that when our heart breaks the scripture falls in. It sounded as though there are some scriptures we are drawn too, and those are what we named as written on the tablets of our hearts. A question near the end of our time actually, asked if we actually (practically speaking) understand what & how it is that we write scripture on the tablet of our heart? The question went unanswered (due to time) but it is one worth asking & pondering — just how do we write scripture on the tablet of our heart?
Our scripture focus was Proverbs 11:10-14. And after hearing the scripture read (lectio divina style as we do) with space for silence following the reading we had a rich conversation. Noticing the need for guidance & (wise) counselor(s) and also spending quite a bit of time wrestling with the idea that when the wicked perish there is joy/jubilation. We thought about a person perishing who might not know Christ, who might not be reconciled — and had compassion — while holding in tension even an example of knowing when someone who had engaged in wicked/evil/destructive behavior dying there being relief and celebration that that wickedness/evil/destructive behavior had ended. We talked about how we can maybe hear this proverbs individually alright — and considered too though, our context (extreme individualism within the United States of America in 2017) is distinctly not the much more collective/communal/familial context that the proverbs were birthed in.
In the complexity of this tension it was also noticed how verses 12 & 13 had not been mentioned at all,
Whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent. A gossip goes about telling secrets, but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence.
And it was asked, “Why?” Do we in a smaller community just get this right? We spoke briefly about the humanness of making mistakes even if one is a confidential person. And we also mentioned too, that possibly we could seek to be more discerning in how & why we share — noting that often the insight is what might be helpful & not the details of a thing — perhaps a growth point for all.
And then it was time for homework. And as we read in verse 11, “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted” our charge for this week is to BLESS OUR COMMUNITY. No specifics were given, a question as to what this might be/look like was asked and left unanswered. And as we begin the new year, 2018 — we begin seeking to BLESS OUR COMMUNITY. I both wonder with anticipation as to how this might look & honestly too — I wonder how this might shape our community for throughout whole of 2018? What would we look like if we were seeking continually to bless our community?
In Christ & walking into the unknown beside you with a smile ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater