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  • Susan Cartmell

The Life of a Gift

When you give a gift, you don’t always know what will happen to it. You give it away and suddenly it takes on a life of its own. How that works is a mystery. When we arrived in Appleton last summer, Peggy and I decided to teach a Bible Study class based on Brian MacLaren’s book, We Make the Road By Walking. She’d had success with the book in other churches and I was game to try. I knew it would be extra work, but I also sensed that the experience would feed our spirits, each week. Somehow, reading the Bible in a group over time, deepens our faith and as well as our connections. This group offered us the space to ask questions, share stories and build trust.

As we got to know each other it felt like we all gained more than we gave. So when Barbara gave us a homemade beeswax candle we felt surrounded by the class as we lit it at home in the evening. When Sarah made soap, we were reminded of them often. Then several weeks ago Heather brought us a quilt she’d made. With stars on a sea of blue fabric, it says “Celebrate the Light”. She told us she was inspired by our study of John’s gospel which begins saying that Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness.

Last night as I reached for the quilt and felt the fabric, I marveled at her generous impulse, the skill of her craft, and the depth of what we shared each week. I marveled too at the power of scripture, how for centuries disciples have bowed their heads to ponder and discuss God’s Word. Everyone who has attended this Bible study has brought the gift of their curiosity, their intellect, their eagerness to see what God might be saying to them. They have come with their contemporary questions for these ancient texts. Faith explorers all, we have shared the friendship of fellow pilgrims. We’ve all had our spirits buoyed week in and week out.

Gratefully and with continued blessings,

Pastor Susan

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