Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Are you Elizabeth?

I was moved to tears on Sunday by the simple words of an older woman. Its easy as you get older to get more fixed and firm in your ideas. Its easy as humans to judge the outside and not the inside. On Sunday I preached on Elizabeth and Mary and was struck by Elizabeth speaking words of blessing and hope to a scared, pregnant, teenager.

maryelizabeth.jpg (For more on this art piece and for four art images to guide you through advent, go here.)

A number of things clicked for me.

1. I have been working a lot with the image of ministry as mid-wife over the last few years (in my out of bounds church? book and in spiritual formation). Elizabeth becomes another example of mid-wiving, of recognising pregnant possibilities and speaking words of courage and hope.

2. We introduced growth coaching at church this year; 1-1 intentional formation; person-centred, not programme-centred. Elizabeth becomes a wonderful example of a growth coach, naming potential in a person and going on a personal journey.

So on Sunday I preached about Mary and Elizabeth. Imagine what church would be like if our older woman spoke words of courage and hope to our younger woman? I invited all those women who wanted to be Elizabeth’s, who wanted to speak words of courage and hope to a new generation to stand. All over the church people did. I prayed for them with tears in my eyes.

There’s something in here that I am still not fully grasping. But it’s a vision for church that inspires me, to bless what the Spirit is doing by coaching Elizabeth’s and watching them bless Mary’s.

Posted by steve at 02:06 PM

1 Comment

  1. It was a very special moment to be prayed for as an Elizabeth for a Mary. As someone who is accompanied by another on my faith journey I have come to appreciate this ministry of mid-wiving. Thank you for offering this opportunity. The futures for Elizabeths are pregnant with possibilities.

    Comment by Jaybe — December 8, 2005 @ 9:02 am

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