Last night at Edge we did “distraction” prayer, that is, we didn’t focus but let our minds wander as they would, mindful of what things might come to us. There was really great quiet, almost silence among us for a wonderful amount of time. I love how we are falling in love with still and quiet. Anyway, thoughts about an area in my life where I am suffering swirled about me. I had just finished Andrew Root’s book about incarnational ministry, the with of God’s presence, His coming close and suffering with us, taking what is ours on Himself as well. Root explains that as believers – Christ’s Body, it is ours to do likewise: to enter the sufferings of others, and in such Jesus comes near to them. It is quite a revolutionary thought: The goal of our life is to be with one another, rather than try to influence one another. Though influence is a natural outflow of trust, trust is born when someone comes near and endures/faces down our suffering with us. Our focus is to be with and there for one another. It kinda takes the pressure off. We are no longer undercover sales people for Jesus. We are to simply be the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
I thought about the times someone has dared to come close when I was suffering. Suffering people are not always the most welcoming…I know I have not been. I thought of the few who have stepped over my barricades, pushed aside my stiff arm and just stayed. Funny, I remember such vividly.
A lot of suffering is being revealed as we, the Edge leaders, journey with Ignatius. I am learning that everybody suffers. Yeah, we all complain, but that’s usually not really about the source of our sufferings…those holy things are deeper felt and held. But Ignatius is calling them free from their hiding. We shared just a little bit of what had risen in us that first night. Wow… we shared and others suffered with us – listened deeply, let themselves feel what we did, rightly or not, and met our eyes in our pain. I’ll never see any of those “friends” in the same light again, they are now cast with Jesus’ shadow. There is now this Holy place between us. I know what Root meant, “Jesus coming between us as we share in others sufferings.” I have seen it so.