|"Zombie Women Drum!"|
Photo by Matt Wynne
Likewise, when I attend a local women's drum circle each month, I almost always come away feeling unburdened. I stand taller, breathe more easily, think more clearly and love more fully as a result. These gatherings allow a fullness of self-expression, creative energy and a whole-bodied seeking after a Source beyond ourselves. To be honest, it has been a while since I've experienced a similar feeling in a corporate worship gathering. I look for it, and the search will go on, but I suspect that the kind of gathering I am looking for is more like a large family than a corporate gathering in a distant building.
A supporter of this blog and an excellent fellow zombie theologian, Alan, asks why the church gathers, or why it exists in the first place. As he explores some of Paul's letters, the main focus seems to be on building one another up. I think this is only possible when we become aware of one another's burdens, needs and perceived inadequacies, and offer encouragement, love, support and hope to one another. It is very difficult, (although not impossible) to offer such things in the context of a large church, and yet this is what pastors and assocites are expected to do on a weekly basis at most of our gatherings. Instead of relying upon a central figure or leadership team for support, we are called to lift one another up, to bear one another's burdens, to pray constantly for one another and to encourage one another in the journey of faith.
How might we accomplish this task? What might the Spirit be prompting us to do in our faith communities? How can we become more like a healthy, supportive family, since we are all children of God?
When I gather with the women who drum each month, or spend time with the bellydancing crew, I am wholeheartedly accepted. Whether I am soaring on the wings of eagles or wallowing in the pit of dispair, I am a sister who is embraced. Their eyes meet mine, their mouths speak my name in love, and together we seek a power higher than ourselves so we might all be strengthened. Whether my sisters know it or not, they are acting as Christ for me. We know that individually we're all zombies to one degree or another, but by the grace of God, when we are gathered together, we become much more life-like and healthy.
May Christ's presence become manifest in each of your gatherings, and may we work together to build up the church until He comes again in glory to bring us into the fulness of True Life! Amen.