Sunday, January 6, 2008

Don't wait; be patient....

Two years ago on a fine Epiphany afternoon, I found myself in desperate need of a nap (Surprise! Not....). My kindergartener had quickly fallen asleep, which was usually the only impediment, and I tried to relax and join him in dream-land.

It was not to be. This nap opportunity was interrupted (hehehe) by swirling thoughts and images. Things that I'd been collecting for 30-some years and storing away for "someday" in the back of my brain. Someday ... when my thoughts and dreams about how the Christian life could (should?) be lived might actually become reality.

Really, Lord...I desperately need this nap....

Twenty minutes of non-nap later, I ask: "Okay, Lord. Do you want me to get up and write this down?" Apparently, he did. So, I went down to the kitchen table with my tiny notebook and began to write ... and write ... and write ... and draw charts ... and write. Two hours and sixteen pages later I had documented what has come to be known as the vision for CovenantClusters.

A vision of incarnational-missional community arrived on Epiphany. Of course, I didn't have the vocabulary to describe it that way then ... but the many interruptions, er, appointments God scheduled for me these past two years have provided all the charts, books, vocabulary and confirmation I could possibly want. And after a year of trying to explain this vision to people who were obviously not on the same page ... God brought me to a tribe of brothers and sisters journeying along a similar (parallel?) path. This path does not, at first glance, appear well traveled; but there are many more following it than most would guess ... folks who embrace words like these:

Companionship. Comprehension. Cohesion. Collaboration. Challenge. Compassion. Chaos. Communitas ... even cHesed! (Hmmm ... Brad, what's with the alliterative "c" thing going on here -- did you start it? :^) )

And the most amazing thing is this: that after all the books and people and blogs and conferences that I have crammed into the past 15 months, the vision scribbled down in that little notebook has not changed. It has been given vocabulary and gravitas and context and scope, absolutely. But not one thing that swirled around 24 months ago has needed to be "edited out" in the face of all that I have experienced. There is still, apparently, a need for this vision to be brought to life. Pieces of it exist here and there, but I have yet to find anyone, anywhere with a similar scope and breadth of vision that makes me want to set aside what I have "seen" and join them. I have been tempted, mind you, but only because it would be "easier" to join the work of another than to complete the task God has set before me.

Surely, this continues to be one of the most interesting forms of confirmation of this vision in the depths of my soul. And so I will be reworking that vision to include all that I have learned and look toward sharing a more concrete vision with those companions the Lord will call to join me. And, together, we will bring CovenantClusters to our neighborhoods.

It is going to be a grand year, indeed. And the very first words of confirmation and counsel I received, just days after the vision, continue to ring true: don't wait; be patient.

Go with God.

12 comments:

Brad said...

don't blame me for inventing what you C!

other than that ... isn't it amazing when we obey, what sometimes emerges? "well done" for getting up and scribbling down. it will indeed be interesting to see how this progresses. the image that comes to mind is ice skating and "crack the whip." someone has to put themselves in the role of first in line, so that others can pick up speed and be carried along for the fun! while it may be work and draining to serve in that role, still it is a necessary service. if we can do it, why not do it? i suspect many people and networks we know will find this to be a year when we need to get behind pressing forward.

blessings to The Abbess and fam on the continued CovenantClusters journey!

Wes said...

...keep writing

...please tell us more

...love the name--CovenantClusters

...any in Colorado?

AbiSomeone said...

Brad...yes, "get behind pressing forward" is exactly what I believe this year will be about! I just hope I don't skate out onto any "thin ice" hehehe...although if we can walk with Jesus on water, skating with him out on thin ice should not be a problem, eh?

Wes...stay tuned...the story will begin unfolding soon. There are no "CovenantClusters" anywhere, yet; would love for you to go for it in Colorado! :^)

Janet Woodlock said...

Trailblazing is the best fun.

And when something is of God, you just hop on the surfboard at the right moment, and the wave does all the work. It's a buzz... and one can only humbly acknowledge the power is all God's... we just happened to be in the right spot at the right time.

Just wait for that wave...

(It's summer in Oz... I hope the analogy works for you... I stayed down the beach last week!)

AbiSomeone said...

Janet,

Deep down, I have always been a trailblazer....

Happy summer at the beach, girl! Having been both a Hawaii and Southern California girl, I know the drill about surfing.... ;^)

It is very much a matter of waiting for that perfect wave. That's the "be patient" part. I know that if I pick just any wave, I'll either end up shark snacks on the coral or using my energy on a wrong tack--maybe even missing out!

But if I get busy "getting into shape" and working on my "board" and my "form" solid, that's the "don't wait" part. Then, I will be ready when God calls out: "Surf's up!"

What a ride, indeed! :^) Gives "Go with God" a whole different slant, eh?

Janet Woodlock said...

The mentoring initiative I've been involved with over the past couple of years has felt like "catching a wave"... and it's triggered mentoring initiatives in other states (and now another denomination)... not because I've planned this or been particularly clever, but just been swept along in what God happens to be doing. Just listen and jump at the right time... like the wise virgins who were ready for the chairos moment when the bridegroom came by! It's awesome what God does...

AbiSomeone said...

Janet,

When I was composing my last comment, I was completely thinking of the wise virgins! :^)

Janet Woodlock said...

Hey... great minds think alike eh?

Ooh... that doesn't sound very "Christianly humble"...

How about "both led by the Spirit"?

Much better.

AbiSomeone said...

Janet...hehehe ;^) tuned into the Spirit's wave-length?

Would love to get in on your mentoring wave ... reverse mentoring is such a tediously purple process! :^|

Janet Woodlock said...

Probably what I'm currently doing is best done at a denominational level (linking emerging leaders with "relevant ministry area" mentors for coaching)... it's cross church mentoring and tends to have an element of supervision / objective viewpoint built in. I think your covenant clusters have a more holistic approach to mentoring / discipleship anyway.

sonja said...

... at long last! I have set aside your series until I have time to savor and learn from them. Now I that time.

AbiSomeone said...

Sonja,

I am happy that you have both the time and the interest to go on this journey with me ... you are just the right kind of person in just the right context to process this with me, cHesed sister!

It will be interesting!