a reflection by Cynthia Wilbers-Muturi, writing about her experience with Walking Together, a series of gatherings in Lent specially designed for those new to our community.
Eating Together, Walking Together
I rushed off the plane after an 11-hour flight from the Dominican Republic and headed straight to church. I didn’t want to miss our Walking Together gathering. Our walking was spiritual in nature. Centred around a meal. We were encouraged to share a table with people we did not know well. To open ourselves to the new member, to the stranger. Volunteers had given of their time to prepare us pots of nourishing soup. The rich red soup a favourite childhood recipe, the creamy green one a national dish flavoured with memories of home.
As we shared the meal and got to know each other a little better, we recognised the words in our resource book by Archbishop Rowan Williams, that “our dignity is always in need of being called into active life by relation, by the gift of others,” that “the humanity of our neighbours depends on ours as ours does on theirs.”
The topic of discussion for the evening was forgiveness. Who had we forgiven? How had we been forgiven? In which instance had we been unable to forgive? We had deep, moving and candid discussions. Each one of us stepping out of our comfort zone and laying ourselves bare. And in our vulnerability, we learnt to reach out to one another by “honouring the truth of the divine image in each other.” In sharing a simple meal prepared by others, in communing with each other about the power of forgiveness, we came to acknowledge our own humanity in the humanity of our neighbour and to see the face of God in the faces, and in the hearts, of those with whom we Walked Together that evening.
For Reflection and Discussion
1. “Our dignity is always in need of being called into active life by relation, by the gift of others.” What does this statement mean to you? Where have you experienced this “calling” in your own life? In our congregation?
2. The book of Proverbs gives this command: “Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your produce.” (Proverbs 3:9). What do you think it means to honor God with our “first fruits” (as opposed to our “last”)?
(Photo by George Arende)