Reflections from the 2017 Annual Gathering
Marie Onwubuariri, Regional Executive Minister
There was something surfacing from deep down, perhaps from the roots
As if we brought into this shared space all that had been weighing us down
things that have stirred our soul, kept us up at night, fueled our fear to speak—even if
just to ask a question,
stuff that has kept us in awe, or anger, or anguish
We brought it all, it seems, and much of it spilled out as song, exhortation, testimony,
tears, hand shakes, hugs, commitments, probing…
vulnerable and curious
humble and courageous
cautious yet engaging
as I listened and watched I noticed it all; I saw…Spirit
…and spirits surrendering…to divine and to fellow humanity
It was … well … what I understand what many who have been around lately would have hoped for: a coming together for Spirit to speak, move within, and move toward outward—outside of our own selves.
It was ecclesia. rooted. blossoming.
But perhaps not for all and not at all times — which is to be expected
We never meet all needs, never answer all questions, especially the ones not asked
Not all people greet one another; we are still human, after all — with fragile egos and
embedded unspoken self-serving norms
Yet even dissonance is important as it reminds us of what we may not yet know,
where we may still need to go
how God is pruning us for growth
it anticipates resolution.
This, too, is ecclesia. rooted. surfacing.
Yes, surfacing—the calling forth of real talk — real stories of healing, faith, friendship;
attention to inequalities, fabricated divisions, false witness;
honoring of ancestral sacrifices and prophetic boldness;
responsibility and covenant; celebration, appreciation, joy; service to God and
alongside one another….Empower Us, the gathered sang…Empower Us…
Our hands are getting dirty…and it is quite beautiful.