Stirring in my prayers this week are the bold followers of Jesus – including 126 from the Iowa Conference – gathered in Orlando for our UCC National Youth Event. And, stirring in my prayers are my son and his wife, who will move into their first home this weekend. And, stirring in my prayers are dozens and dozens of women whose beautiful pieces of handwork found their way to collectors and antique dealers and eventually to a storage unit.
First, the handwork. Some weeks ago, I went through box upon box of handwork pieces that my mother had collected. Dealers had assured us that there was no market for such things today. Once, they had both practical and sentimental value. Today, the sentimental ties are broken, they are no longer practical, and they have little monetary value. I picked up doily after doily, tea towel after tea towel, pillow case after pillow case, fancy apron after fancy apron (the kind we don’t wear any longer when serving guests). I wondered about the stories of the women who had made each piece. I caught my breath, thinking of the hours and hours and hours these pieces had taken to complete. I brought one small box home. I don’t need these embroidered pillow cases and doilies, but I need a little time to let the prettiest ones go.
Second, the new house. There is almost nothing in my home that is new. It’s full of hand-me-downs, rescues, thrift shop finds, and a few family treasures. The décor is something born of a mix of necessity and sentimentality. Neither my amazing son nor his amazing wife are drawn to surround themselves with old things. They are gracious and firm in kindly declining to inherit old dishes and funky attic artifacts. Their new home isn’t a place for my stuff. It’s a place for their stuff.
Finally, the bold followers of Jesus gathered at our UCC National Youth Event. These saints are soon ready for their own houses – including their own houses of worship, where they lead. They will not be moving in with our doilies and dusty boxes. But these precious bold followers of Jesus will amaze us with their energy for service and mission. These precious bold followers of Jesus will amaze us with their passion for worship that is light with Spirit flame and fuels the right-now work of Jesus. As our congregations and Associations welcome our NYE travelers home, let’s listen hard for what they can teach us about the body of Christ in motion.
Praying for these bold followers of Jesus this morning, I imagined the body of Christ wearing a Fitbit…excited about counting its steps.
—Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister