As you prepare for your new run, what do you feel?
Is it excitement that keeps you anticipating the first session, or are you gripped in the fear that you’re simply not prepared for the coming 10 weeks? Are you anxious about meeting new participants? Or maybe you are ready for the race and you can’t wait to dip your toes into this pool and to walk on water?
Does there seem to be busier days and more distractions of late? Or maybe recurrent problems that just have to crop up again right now, just as you think you are focused on shaping your heart and actions toward service and mission? Are everyday affairs that require tending to taking your attention away from preparing for the new run?
To think that all these things are unfolding because of a ‘yes’ you said.
And what of that ‘yes’?
Have you thought about what you’ve actually said ‘yes’ to? When will this ‘yes’ be shaken? When will you reach the point of ‘enough is enough’ with this ‘yes’?
For some, this is going to be your very first faith journey as a welcomer. You’ve experienced Landings as a participant and tasted all its ferocious flavours – in how you’ve been listened to with zero judgement, how you’ve been cared for with love and how your injured faith has been nurtured and restored to full health with nothing more than the gift of prayer and presence.
How will you now transit to become a welcomer?
Even if you’ve been with Landings for a few runs, or many years now, you may not think of yourself as a welcomer – after all, you struggle everyday in drawing closer to Jesus and dwelling in faithfulness seems like a constant one-step-forward-two-steps-back sort of journey. You know God will give you all that you need to be on this run but you can’t help noticing there are just too many days fraught with work anxieties, health concerns, personal difficulties, conflicts of all kinds, and there is still that one thing in your life you haven’t reconciled entirely with.
How then can you be a welcomer to another?
On days when these sorts of questions threaten to put out that fire burning small but steady in your soul, and to drown you altogether, that small ‘yes’ you said to be a welcomer seems to be one big mistake.
Wonderfully then it is, that your ‘yes’ is less a yes to what you can accomplish but more a ‘yes’ to just . be . present for God to work through you.
Because thanks to a strange, mystical element in our faith that makes it possible for one God moment in a week to measure more than a ten bad moments a day, your small ‘yes’ too, can transform lives in big ways… and that element is simply, grace. (Just look at what Mary’s ‘yes’ to Archangel Gabriel accomplished.)
It is a mystery because it is in your smallest ‘yes’ uttered in the midst of all your glorious brokenness that you become the conduit for grace to flow – from God, through you, to others, and in this swirling and exchange of vulnerability that you and your participants will receive courage, healing, purpose and ammunition to combat the distractions and doubts that keep you from the Good Shepherd.
Yes, there will be spiritual testing, as with all spiritual journeys.
There will be days when you feel your heart burning with so much desire to offer your participants everything you’ve got, just as there will be days you want to throw in the towel and bid farewell to this mission.
There will be days you’re going to walk so closely to our Lord and have your intentions shaped only by His direction, and your heart steered only by His hand, and there will be days when your patience will be tested with the merest resistance in your group and the love you had in your heart for your role as a welcomer, vanish without a trace.
Yes, dear welcomer, you’ve put yourself in a precarious situation where you’ll be tempted to go your own way and not understand why, especially since you seem to have already been getting along quite well on your walk with Jesus.
But more importantly, you’ve also put yourself in a place of privilege – to be one of Jesus’ own to bring another one of His own back to Him. So in moments when you lose sight of your purpose, go back to that first ‘yes’ that started this all – the ‘yes’ to be a welcomer.
That ‘yes’ is a promise to Him, that so long as His work is not done, you will stand stalwart and still, and continue to be that channel for Him to work.
That ‘yes’ may be shaken but it will not be broken.
That ‘yes’ does not ever see a point of ‘enough is enough’.
That ‘yes’ is you agreeing to take up position in a place that welcomes participants who will come in all shapes and sizes, disposition-wise. They are you, a run, three runs, nine years, ago, who have come just as you have – guided by nothing but a stirring in their hearts, not yet realising that stirring is a call from God but who will very soon grasp a glimmer of hope through you – the very hope that will potentially change their spiritual lives.
That ‘yes’ is your response to your God, and it is one that knows difficulties may come but they cannot conquer. Because those trying times will pass but what will linger is the fullness of a heart that has taken on another person’s struggle, pain and strife. And it is in this mutual embrace that love sparks and you know what they say about sparks – that it only takes one to get a fire going.
Today, you are going to be the catalyst for that spark. And behind you stand the collective prayers of the entire community and the Church to answer the Good Shepherd’s call to bring the lost sheep home.
So have a blessed, fruitful 10-week adventure that will draw you closer to our Father. May you witness a manifestation of grace through your presence and the most spiritually rewarding paradox that fills you more as you give more of yourself.
Just you wait to be surprised by how wonderful a welcomer you’re going to be, all because you’ve whispered a small ‘yes’ in your heart to allow God to work through you.
the Landings team