Can I tell you what a humbling, mostly overwhelming feeling it is to have the privilege of visiting with you on Sweet Mondays? Praying always that the right words will come to encourage our Sweet community to laugh, lean in, listen well or love a little deeper. The odds are great that you and I don’t know each other. We’re strangers. But we’ve been invited to this moment in time together today. Strangers. But here we are connected through sweetness.
I’m typing this as I sit buckled in and ready to take off from our island and head to Texas. There is a sweet party of three waiting at the other end of this flight. Friends for 35 years, we are gathering to celebrate the retirement of one of us. Because we don’t live in the same spaces, seeing each other face to face is a wonderful hope.
For almost 2 years we have gathered through video conference calls. We calendar the date and guard the time as a treasure. The conversation is never dull because we are all learners. (You are too, that’s why you read this!) We talk about books, travel, exercising (or not), faith formation, movies, our teams and our longings.
All of these sisters have buried both parents. One buried both parents within the last three months. Only one is left with a mama on earth. Only one of us has children. Three of us have battled cancer. All of us are ministers not because of a church declaration but because we believe we are a chosen people a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God. (2 Peter 2:9) We sisters have traveled all over the world and we love to welcome the nations into our homes, churches, ESL classes. You will find us teaching, mentoring, laughing and crying with people God brings into our lives.
These safe sisters will speak truth, give perspective and aren’t afraid of asking hard questions. We have cried over aging parents, cancer treatments, car wrecks, workplace grief, people we struggle to understand, and people who live with little but are rich in hope. We are not satisfied with the way our world is and believe we are part of the problem and solution. We petition our Redeeming God because He is Able. And because we believe where four women are gathered in His name – even through video calls – He is there.
This is one way the Christ Life is meant to be. It is a shared life. One that offers safe companions who travel a long road across life’s miles. The Christ Life is about making commitments to vulnerability, truth, presence in joy and pain.
When our video conference call is over, we always want more time. This weekend we will want more when it is time to say goodbye. We will have made new memories, cried fresh tears of laughter and ache, eaten some great Tex Mex, chewed on God’s Word together and prayed some bold prayers.
That is what Sweet Monday is all about – opening the door to conversation where new friends are welcomed, a common hobby or favorite tea shop shared, or a new way to fold clothes is discovered. It is making your home a place that invites a friendship that can be a lifeline down the road. Maybe even a safe sisterhood. May I take Hebrews 13:1-2 and paraphrase it for our Sweet Monday?
Keep on loving each other as sisters. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Strangers connected through sweetness. Angels amongst us!