Sr. Joan Chittister has been a favorite author of mine for quite some time now. One of her many books, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, is one I have read many times and will return to again and again. For the next few daily meditations I am going to draw from her depth of faith and wisdom on several topics from the aforementioned book.
“Humility is simply a basic awareness of my relationship to the world and my connectedness to all its circumstances. It is the acceptance of relationships with others, not only for who they are but also for who I am. I do not interact with others to get something out of it; I make my way with others in my life because each of them has something important to call out of me, to support in me, to bring to fruit a vision of God in my life.”
Over my years of regional ministry I loved the opportunities I had to preach in our predominantly black churches. The beautiful people who make up these faith communities know exactly what it means “to call out” something important, the Word God has for them that day, from the preacher of the hour. When their high expectations of what God has in store for them that morning is combined with their verbal exhortations to “Come on, preacher!” something pretty amazing, something that can only be of God, starts to happen. The Word would flow in such a way that, as the preacher, I felt like I was standing with the congregation listening to what God was saying to all of us, through me. I did not have that experience when I stuck to the prepared sermon. It is only when I let myself be captured by the moving of the Spirit through the people in that moment that I knew something special, not of me, was being called out of me as a gift to the gathered.
You don’t have to be a preacher or a black preacher for what “is of God” in you to be called out as a gift to another through you. You just have to be willing to let God be God over you (giving God the reigns of your spirit) long enough for God to be the gift of God through you to the other God has brought before you.
Getting over ourselves long enough to let God work through us seems to be the perpetual challenge…at least for me.