“Bless these gifts.”

(Photographed in the "garden of hope" at Clara White Mission, Jacksonville, FL.)

(Photographed in the “garden of hope” at Clara White Mission, Jacksonville, FL.)

Over the past two or three days, I find myself needing to unfurl my clenched fist, to loosen my grip and let go.

I find myself longing to integrate parts of myself and my journey that might seem incongruent or incompatible from the outside looking in. Parts that have been discarded, forgotten or set aside. But these are steps on the journey, each bringing its own challenges. Each with its own gifts. Each of great value. I want to own and appreciate it all. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

I was asked this week to describe my theology – my understanding and experience of God. The theme that dominated this conversation was “community.” Though I need regular times apart – times of quiet and reflection – I need the experience of community just as much. It is in community with fellow strugglers/seekers/truth-tellers that I am able to encounter God. And it is in the midst of loving community that I discover my deepest, truest self.

Sometimes you challenge me, and I feel caught up short. But that is part of the process. When you bring to the table all of your gifts – your struggle, your confusion, your passion and your hope – you are a blessing beyond measure. May we trust one another and God enough to remain in community, to invite the stranger, to stretch toward our best selves. May we discover, uncover and embrace all that God has for us.

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be,
And bless these gifts bestowed by thee.
Bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep us in your loving care.

— adapted from a Moravian table prayer

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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