“People need an intellectual understanding of the significance of their community.
They need a clear reminder of the meaning and place of the community in today’s world. It is important to be reminded of the precise goals of the community, its call and its origins. In too many communities the essentials are obscured in a thousand and one activities. Their members no longer know why they are together or to what they should be witnessing. They discuss the details but forget what brought them together.”
These words of Jean Vanier serve as a powerful reminder to the people of God to not lose sight of why we gather and Whose we are in the midst of our busyness as a community. Each week we all find ourselves filling our calendars, fussing over details, planning the next event, and generally making certain we have not a moment to just sit and BE. In all of that we lose sight of the fact that what has brought us together is God and the call to love! We see, experience and know God through love. We are incapable to experiencing that love when we are busying ourselves so much. My prayer for us all is that we understand an know the importance of God and God’s love.
Last week I had opportunity to meet Connie Schritt! Connie lives in Selkirk, Manitoba and regularly comments on this blog. Catherinanne and I had dinner with Connie and her husband Henry at her sister Katherine Keeling’s home where she was visiting. It was a joy to meet Connie and to finally meet her mom Mary. At 96 Katherine and Connie’s mom is a real treasure.
Along with great hospitality and a wonderful meal, we were treated to Harold and Katherine’s collection of cross-stitch samplers that they have collected over the years. I confess that I knew nothing about these beautiful works till seeing them for the first time last week. These fine works were the labour of young girls who would stitch the alphabet, perhaps a depiction of their house, and almost always a bible verse, or a reference to God. As I examined the detail in each one I was moved by notion that what I was looking at was fabric that over a hundred years earlier were held in tiny and busy hands. The reference to scripture or God in each one moved me. In 1798 little Sarah Iceley stitched –
Jesus permit they gracious name to stand,
As the first effort of my youthful hand,
Engage my tender heart to seek they love,
With thy dear children let me share a part,
And write thy name, Thyself upon my heart.
Then this very sweet stitching has this inscription at its center…
‘Christ is our bop.’
Christ is our bop? I didn’t get it at first. Katherine helped me. Invert the first and last letters – Christ is our GOD! It’s imperfect and it’s beautiful! It is an effort of the heart and at the heart of the effort is God. No doubt it was different day. That said – it left me wondering how much we place ‘our bop’ at the center of what we are doing? How often is ‘our bop’ forgotten in our frenetic and busy day-to-day planning, doing, improving, accumulating, impressing etc.?
Let us take time to place ‘our bop’ at the center of our loves, our activities, and our communities. Perhaps instead of fussing over details we might remember the origins of our community are all follow from the fact that ‘Christ is our bop!’
Thank you Harold and Katherine for introducing me to this great expression – and for a great dinner and tremendous company!
 Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p. 176
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