By Cathy Stoner, campus pastor
This week’s theme: Dare to imagine God’s robe!
It is remarkable that two of this week’s scriptures feature young boys taking their roles in the temple very seriously. In 1 Samuel 2:18-20 Samuel is “ministering before the Lord” and in Luke 2:41-52, Jesus is “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” In both cases, these youngsters’ commitment to living their faith comes at a cost to their family relationships.
When we dedicate our children in the Mennonite Church, we are asked to answer “yes” to the question of whether we will support our children to grow and live into their faith “even if it takes them far away” from us.
This is when it really gets daring — when we dare to imagine ourselves and/or our children clothing ourselves in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12-17) and doing this from somewhere other than the couch!
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd is an excellent fictional treatment of the tension between our personal sense of call and our relationships. In it, a young woman and the young Jesus struggle together (or in parallel) to discern what they are meant to do with their lives.
This fifth week of Advent is a time where we can pause to consider:
How do we strike a balance between following our vocation and our relationships?
Are there groups of people (women, children) who have historically bourne the “cost of discipleship” when it comes to the men in their lives “doing God’s work?”
How can we discern together how to navigate the balance between being true to our individual calling and maintaining relationships?
How is God nudging us to dare to imagine trying on God’s robe in some new and stretching ways?