Hello and Goodbye - The Habits of Gathering and Sending
Dear Kaleid Women,
We’re well into our series on the habits that shape our worship. Thank you for joining us as we pay attention to the way that our daily habits shape the loves of our hearts and train our eyes to gaze lovingly on the One who loved us first.
Today’s focus is on the often overlooked church practice of “gathering and sending.” Have you ever noticed the way that your community of faith welcomes you into the service each week? What about the way that it sends you forth into the world as an agent of love?
Perhaps next week, you can take time to notice those things to see how your community does them.
But what about in daily life? What are our own habits of gathering and sending? To gather and to send is a simple, powerful, holy combination of ideas.
God gathers us in welcome. He makes time to say hello.
Jesus gathered His disciples together by washing their feet at the Last Supper. He welcomed the little children to come to him and interrupt Him. He leaned into the questions and adoration of women who were unwelcome in society. He made space and He verbalized His welcoming intentions.
God sends us in mission. He offers purposeful goodbyes.
Jesus sent His disciples to work in the world, gathering food for crowds or preparing meals ahead of time. He sent them to do ministry together and then helped them debrief their experience. He sent them to the world as ambassadors of the gospel of the Kingdom and in the power of the Holy Spirit. He thoughtfully commissioned His followers and furthered His work through them.
So what are your gathering and welcoming habits?
Are they as simple as stopping to welcome your family to the dinner table, your child into the car after car line, or your co-worker to the office in the morning? Are they as habitual as bowing your head before the Lord in the morning, intentionally and gratefully welcoming of the day? Are they as beautiful as noting a special occasion by commemorating it with a gift and a written word? Do you recognize the powerful space that gathering people, things, and thoughts in welcome makes in your life?
How about your sending habits?
Do you mark the shift from one part of your day to another, recognizing your opportunity to love as you change landscapes? Do you send your family out the door with a word of encouragement or blessing? Do you take the time to open your hands to the blessing of God as you are sent into the day to carry His love and grace in the container of your physical presence? How do habits of sending play a part in your understanding of your mission in the world as God’s daughter?
As we said, these are often overlooked liturgical habits, but ones worth remembering. On a Wednesday. In September. There are worthy spaces in your life. There are beautiful people in your life. There are powerful forces of God at work in your life. Perhaps today you can take the time to gather those things in welcome into your space and to send those you love out, with love.
This week’s journaling questions:
When you think of gathering and sending, who in your life already does these things intentionally and with grace? How might their example be an encouragement to you?
What’s the connection between busyness and an inability to transition well between life’s demands? What could incorporating new habits of gathering and sending do to change this dynamic for you? What might you incorporate?
Read John 17 a few times through. What do you hear the Holy Spirit saying to you about the love of Christ and how it intersects with the reality that we are sent into the world by Him?
The Kaleid Team
P.S. As a side note of beauty...one of the most traditional sending prayers of the Christian faith is this, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) When we have these words spoken or sung over us, we are sent into the world in peace even though the world in which we love and work is not peaceful. If you love choral music and want a beautiful thrill, play this recording of the chorus singing John Rutter’s version of the hymn at the royal wedding.