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In this final print issue of Weavings contributors delve into how we become and remain open to the Holy. It is a rich subject to conclude thirty years of conversation on spiritual life. Several writers note with gratitude their connection to Weavings over this span of time. The feeling is mutual. The Weavings staff has been awed continually by the insights, the challenges, and the vulnerability writers have offered up in these pages, and readers have appreciated these gifts as well.
Yet again essays and poems weave a beautiful pattern in which the warp of recurring themes is enhanced by the weft of unique experiences. Among the strong fibers of the warp are silence, scripture, honest prayer, vulnerability, patience, hope, and resurrection. Interwoven are grief and pain, running away and coming home, long-awaited revelation and clarity, hospitality and shelter, insecurity and promise. And in this Advent season writers speak of our fresh opportunity to open ourselves to the arrival of God’s gracious gift of embodied Love in Jesus. The Christ child rekindles our hope and eternal joy.
To begin, we gain some clarity about holiness. Holiness, Don Saliers explains, is a slowly dawning way of being in the world with God and neighbor. He suggests the metaphor of holiness as a melody we come to know and sing. J. Barrie Shepherd, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, and Melissa Tidwell focus attention particularly on the gateways to the Holy present in the story and rituals of Advent and Christmas.
For various reasons we are inclined to run away from God, Ann Broyles observes. And yet, when we come “home” to God, we may not automatically find ourselves at peace, Roberta Bondi has learned. Inevitably, we cycle through times of sensing God’s presence and not sensing it. Elizabeth Canham commends Benedictine practices as a means to navigate such vicissitudes of the Christian pilgrimage.
Prayer (Deborah Smith Douglas), contemplation (E. Glenn Hinson), and spiritual imagination (Michael Downey and Melissa Tidwell), all open our hearts to the Holy. What about times when we lose trust in God? Marjorie Thompson shares her journey following the death of her beloved husband, John Mogabgab, and describes staying open in the midst of grief until trust is restored.
Rueben Job reminds us that we meet Jesus in community; in sacred community we receive support and encouragement to grow spiritually. “Love,” Pamela Hawkins writes, is God’s first language, and “in truth and forever, [we are] woven together in love.”
Challenging our desire for a sense of security from the Holy, Johnny Sears urges a trust in God that thrives in insecurity: “Take nothing for your journey.” And, finally, Steve Garnaas-Holmes draws us into the future by lifting another veil over the mystery of the Holy, finding “the holy not in what is anointed / but in what is next.”