I normally don’t share on line things which happen during a spiritual direction moment, it’s personal, and part of me working things out with a paid professional, but I thought in this instance, it might be a good thing to share, specially for those who don’t understand what happens during a session.

This Saturday I met with my director, the second I’ve had in 6 years, and during our conversation I mentioned I would be preaching at my sponsoring parish next Sunday. He asked what reading I’d be using, and I said that I was going to primarily preach on the story of the “Binding of Issac.”

One of the things I mentioned was a thought suggested by Karl Barth who said that with regard to this story, Abraham calls the spot where he offered the ram as a burnt offering, “The Lord will provide.” Barth suggests that if we look at the Latin root which translates “to see” — that the word “provide” means God sees things we need before we see them which is implicated in the fact that the ram appeared before Abraham was aware. The other thing which struck me was that Abraham was not told to sacrifice the ram, it was his choice. In other words, God provides what is needed before we see it, but it is up to us to not only see it, but make the choice to choose the gift or grace offering and do something with it.

I mentioned to my director that I had been pondering this thought, that God provides, and we must make the effort to do something with it. We must also discern if the gift is truly something from God or merely our good wishes. This, of course, is a knowledge we gain by being in relationship, and something to judge through experience. Relationship and Experience being one of the signs of spiritual maturity.

Then my spiritual director asked, “what does God provide to me”, and I blurted out, the chance to connect with people outside the church, and the opportunity to show God’s love to people I come into contact. I will spare the reader our conversation, but out of this came, for me, the realization that I am a gatherer. He asked, “Does this mean you are a shepherd?” I said, “No, I am more like an Austrailian Sheep Dog”. I gather people together to be shephered, and move them into community, and keep them from straying, from wondering off.”

I stopped talking, and said that I truly sounded like a deacon, which is a person who gathers, but is not so much interest in shepherding, its a job that works hand in hand with the shepherd, but different in nature, yet all of this is done allowing God to do the work…………Sometimes gathering is enough.

My work in outreach, one of my primary ministry interests, as seen by my National Coming Out Service, which will move after this year to our Pro-Cathedral, is one of the by products of gathering.The MDG concert I hope to produce a year from now is another effort to gather those outside the congregation. My little congregation at my local Starbucks is gathering….

Sometimes gathering is enough.