Good morning all!
Today’s scripture: Isaiah 43.1-7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
On Wednesday nights around here, we have a worship service called Bread and Wine. I have mentioned it to many of you and a few times this season in the blog. This is a worship service that a group of people, myself included, really felt needed to happen in McMinnville. It happens around a potluck style dinner. There is always bread and there is always wine. We gather, we sing and pray, we eat and while eating we discuss scripture and then we take the bread that we have been eating, bless it and tell the story. We pass it around. Then we take the same wine that is on the table, bless it, tell the story and pass it around. We pray some more and then we are sent out into the world. The attendance ranges from 10-20 or 25 even if we have a lot of people. Our discussions are deep and intense. Our food is great and we would love to see more people with us (hint hint).
We also have a few kiddos that have become part of the fabric of our community. Violet, our resident 2.5 year old, comes almost every week with her parents. When Violet walks into the room, she has claimed the room. Violet calls this space, “Mommy’s church” and she loves mommy’s church. Last night Violet had us all by the moment she walked in. While we were singing Violet exclaimed, “sing Daddy!” When we were getting our food Violet exclaimed, “I am going to sit right here! Will you sit by me?” When we were discussing scripture Violet was making sure that the loudest toy was present at the table or that we all knew she was coloring. When the bread and wine came around the table Violet made sure she was in someone’s lap to take bread and dip it in whatever cup she could get to.
And after dinner, Violet and I were sitting on the couch talking about Dora the Explorer and when she pointed out Dora’s grandma I replied, “yeah that is her abuela!” Her mom came over (hey Erica!) and said, “and who is that with Dora?” “Her abuela!” Her mom looked at me…yes, Violet understands calling out right away. 🙂
What amazes me most about Violet is that she knows that she has a community. It didn’t take much convincing. We are safe go to people that each have a name. She is not afraid to live her life to the fullest and to pull us right along with her. She usually makes the most mundane service become one of the most profound services. When our other resident kiddos show up with their parents they only add to this amazing conversation. It is clear through Violet that God has called us by name and there is nothing to fear along the way.
This is what I love about the Isaiah passage. We are claimed, called, and told not to fear. Names are important to God and to us. It is particular to each of us. We are named. Do not fear. Even though stuff happens around us…water, waves, etc….there is no reason to fear as we walk with God. There is a community that surrounds us. There is a place for us. We can exclaim what we are doing and still participate in the activity!
Today feel named and claimed. Try to push aside the fears to live into your name. Know that you are loved. You have a community and you are called by that name.