That was the theme of this year's Quadrennial of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.) The Quadrennial is a women's convention that happens every four years and I was blessed to attend it this year. I went originally because Kay had asked me to help her lead a workshop. But the reality was that the experience proved to be so much more to me.
There were several aspects of the 5 days that spoke to me.
First - it was a tremendous blessing to worship and not have any responsibility for anything in the service. I had not realized how hungry I was to just be with God in community. Most ministers, if they were honest, would tell you it is hard to shut out the "evaluative" voice about worship - since that is what we do. And I will say, that when I was able to - I found myself literally in tears and experiencing God's presence. There is something so rich about worshipping with women. And so, I loved that.
Second it was an opportunity to make and renew friendships. I ended up staying with Dawn Remster, the pastor of First Christian Church in Zanesville. The last Quadrennial I had attended was in 1986 (as we were new pastors) - with Dawn, so there was certainly symettry. She is a pastor who is the "real deal" - a faithful woman of God and I was thankful just to spend these days with her. Also with "her women" - Susie, Judy and Kim and the women of Bowling Green. It was just fun to be catch up and be with everyone.
Third - we were in Atlanta and were able to experience some of the history of that wonderful city. On Saturday we went on a "Pilgrimage" to the Martin Luther King center and the Ebeneazor Baptist Church. It was really important to be in that ordinary church where he grew up and became the pastor. It reminded me of how churches can incubate great leaders. His life and legacy are extraordinary and continue to inform us.
Fourth, I participated in a walk against human trafficking on Saturday morning. Again this was a time of learning about the issue in a deeper way and helping to raise awareness. I know that human trafficking is happening in my neighborhood - a mile from the church. I wonder what our call as a congregation is regarding this important issue.
And finally, I really like the theme of the whole assembly - "I See You." A simple three word statement that reminds us of how important it is to see others and to be seen. Sunday morning Cynthia Hale preached a tremendous sermon that put it all together for me. We have a God who sees us - who sees our soul thirst and our tremendous potential. She said "I see you whole and living with overflow" and continued to remind us of the things that block the flow - sin, settling for substitutes and unbelief. I cannot express it in a few words but I did write this sentence at the end of the sermon - "The more you know God, the more you want to know God."
And that is the truth of my life. This weekend was a way for me to experience God in some different ways - worship, study, justice work, friendships and being away from my ordinary life.