We are all here in this big living room with windows looking over woods and deck. Only five of us here tonight– acquaintances, strangers. We strive to be at ease and the frogs sing down in the creek.
The leader takes prayer requests and we are pious in what we share– a sister, a friend of a friend, an acquaintance with a problem– never selfish or personal, really. She prays and my mind wanders back away home to my menu plans and my checklist and did I run the dishwasher?
The schedule calls for a devotional next, and the woman called upon to share speaks haltingly at first, but soon words are flowing from her lips like a waterfall– tumbling over each other and fighting for first place and jumbling all up into a foamy pool of worry and discontent and fear and uncertainty and then she’s done, suddenly as she started, and we are all still here, but now we are shocked into silence as we consider her words.
Not really her words. Her honesty.
She has, unwittingly, ripped away our comfortable “this is how we do this Christianity thing” masks with her truthfulness. She has exposed her heart to us, and we are not sure how to respond. Perhaps someone should ask for a drink or get a phone call or faint or something to change the subject.
No one does. Instead, slowly, we voice our thoughts, our truths, our understanding. We overcome our shock at her lack of masked propriety. We reveal our own hearts, a little bit at a time.
We minister to one another with honesty and compassion.
And later, as we gather our purses and cell phones and shoes to head for home, we are no longer strangers or acquaintances. We are friends. We are sisters.
This is how it should be in this Body.