Most of us, when we see the word remember, will look back into our past for memories. But re-membering can have many other meanings as well. My favorite among these, is the idea of re-gathering, or bringing together again. Where member means to make whole. For it is in community, that we are truly made whole.
At Echoes gathering together each week in often its own unique experience. I would go so far as to say that at Echoes gathering is a special grace or spiritual gift that we offer to people.
Echoes is about welcome. No matter where you are coming from, no matter where you have been, we welcome you. We hold out our hand to embrace you. I know in my own discovering of Echoes, I had undergone some trauma in another religious congregation. I was not feeling welcomed.
And Echoes took me just as I was in the moment. No need to apologize for coming in emotionally messy. No need to put on anything other than street clothes. Echoes was there as something between a place of worship and a spiritual refuge.
I could worship with all of you and authentically be myself. I was seen. I was held. I was gathered together with everyone else into the embrace of the Loving One.
Lots of organizations use community as a buzzword. Even the ELCA Lutheran denomination, of which Echoes is a part, recognizes that one of the four parts of every worship service is Gathering.
But what does that look like in practice? For Echoes, it takes many forms.
-We gather outdoors for worship and deep gratitude once a month in Wild Church.
-We gather together at the pub for discussion and fellowship with Pub Theology.
-We gather together to get messy with art supplies during Creative Church.
-We gather together to meet new people in the Bellingham community through our Hamster Church.
No matter what gathering together may look like, we welcome you. Having experienced the unique spiritual gift of gathering that Echoes offers, I make it my mission to continue to offer it to you. It is my hope and my job as a member of Echoes to continue to offer this gift to others as it was so freely offered to me.
If you are feeling alone this week, if you are feeling a bit down, if you are feeling a bit off or out of place, we invite you to our next Echoes gathering. But even more importantly we encourage you to reach out. We would love to hear from you.
We would love the opportunity to embrace you, wherever you may be at in the present moment.
By Jory Mickelson