Vicky Allen from Dunbar shares with us her personal reflections on the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering back in February.
To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when we signed up for the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering in February. I didn’t know how many people would be along, or who else we might know, beyond the few of us coming from our wee town. I didn’t know if everyone would be a seasoned 24-7 Prayer “pro” apart from me. But what I did know was it felt important to come, to learn, to listen, and to pay closer attention to what God seems to be drawing our little community further into. And as far as I’m concerned, any chance to visit Dundee is a good thing, so what did I have to lose?
So we arrived, blown into the city on a strong tailwind and snow flurries swirling around us. Familiar faces found us before we even entered the building. Is there any better way to feel welcomed and wanted than to be asked to give a hand? We helped friends carry some boxes in, instantly and inadvertently changing our arrival status from “almost late” to “helping to set up”. My vague anxieties dissolved as we met people, chatted and sipped coffee. It became clear that this was a gathering where I wouldn’t be seen as an outsider. There was room for me here too.
The day flew by, and now I’m left with memories of stories that were told, which felt like signposts for ideas that our little community have been mulling over. I’m left with a deep sense of the sacred, of how good it is when God’s people are in harmony amidst diverse expressions of the Kingdom. I’m left with a treasure trove of possibilities and potential to explore.
You ask me what it was like, really? It was like…like gathering at a well, drinking life-giving water, hands on shoulders as we draw the water together. Like cupping hands to scoop the water over our heads, a fresh baptism of sorts, and then holding up the hands of others, wearied after working so hard for so long. It was like eavesdropping on beautiful stories as we move through the crowd, hearing punchlines, twists and turns in tales which are still being told. It was like a big messy family get-together, smiles and laughter and tears amongst all ages, everyone watching out for the little ones, no matter who they belong to, and reminding them they are part of this too. It was gathering at the well and remembering the well has enough for us all, there’s no hurry, no need to press forward or to leave. There is a wide open invitation to this well.
And so, in the end I have this. For a little while now I’ve been reflecting on the word “poiēma” which is translated into “workmanship” or “craftsmanship” as used in Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2:10, and is apparently also a root of the word poem. This sparks my imagination. Us – you and I – a uniquely crafted God-poem. I left the Gathering with such a sense of the poetry of God, manifest in our scattered and gathered lives. I imagine our poem-lives flying into the world like small birds on the wing. I imagine each of us, singing our poem-songs so sweetly individual, with the urgency and delight of the coming spring.
Vicky Allen is a communications consultant for a small Scottish children’s charity, with a parallel passion for creativity in general and writing poetry in particular. She’s part of Discovery Church Dunbar, a young church plant which loves to meet in the wide open spaces of East Lothian’s coast and countryside as much as possible.