Ruth, Mary Sue, Jennifer, Sandy, Sarah, Dorisanne, April, Nancy, Ginnie, Katie, Christine, Ramonia, Beth, Joy, Laurie, Kendra, Adrienne, Debra, Ruth.
Nineteen women pastors, more beautiful on the inside than they are on the outside—and that’s very beautiful indeed.
What a gift to be with them for their last session of Women Touched by Grace….until they meet again, which they will! Walking with them as they celebrated these ten precious days together; journeying with them as they created a trellis, a rhythm, to assist them in using the gifts they have received in this precious time apart when they return to their families, friends, and ministries.
The women are divided into Covenant Groups who meet for lectio, sharing, and processing throughout the sessions. Each Covenant Group is responsible for the Sunday evening Eucharistic worship, and last night Listen created our liturgy. It was particularly meaningful.
Using the Gospel text of The Road to Emmaus, the worship began and ended in the chapel, but was a walking liturgy, with different parts of worship observed as stations. Singing Taize music accompanied by a recorder as we walked from station to station, spring abounding, the song of birds especially geese joining our song.
The first station was at the Cemetery, where we listened to Luke 24. 1–24. Next we walked the labyrinth together as we heard verses 25–27, pondering the presence of Christ within us. We then moved to the third station, the cross outside the Benedict Inn, listening to verses 28–29, and greeting one another in the name of the Lord.
We returned to the chapel for station four, sharing the Bread and Cup. The sky began to turn from day to night, just as it did for those disciples walking with Jesus on the road as they, too, recognized him finally in the breaking of the bread. Station five was the short walk to the baptism font, full of Easter blessed water. We took turns making the sign of the cross with holy water on one another’s foreheads, saying, You are a beloved daughter of God.
Today Teri did another fine teaching about creating a trellis, a way for them to continue to practice what had been received in the past two and one-half years. The worship last night could not have been a finer preamble to the teaching today. As it is that I am invited to renew my own baptismal vows when we baptize a new person into the family of God, as it was yesterday when I was reminded of my Benedictine covenant during the oblation liturgy, this day I am reminded of the essentialness of my own daily rhythm of relationship with God, others, creation, and my own self. This is yet another gift these nineteen women have given me for my own return to that portion of the world God has entrusted to me.
Creator God, as women touched by your grace, we stand before you, open vessels. Fill us with joy and compassion, with fidelity and faith, with love and all good things to the point of overflowing.
May others who thirst come to us for refreshment and in us, find you. Make us worthy bearers of your word and stewards of your gifts so that, in all things, you alone may be glorified.