Continuing Exploration: “…and follow me.”
An Editorial from Lori Piñeiro Sinitzky
The theme of the 2022 Gathering, “…and follow me,” is a biblical phrase that was unfamiliar to me until the Gathering clerks introduced it as this year’s theme. Over the last few months, I’ve taken time to read and reread the passages in which this phrase appears in the Bible. I’ve spent time wondering about how the theme impacts how I show up at this year’s Gathering. I have some observations that I’d like to share with you.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
In John 12:26 Jesus says, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.”
What is Jesus asking for? I hear Jesus asking for faith. For trust. Even for sacrifice. When Jesus says, “…and follow me,” Jesus asks us to let go of “self” and embrace communion, a communion that we as Friends know experientially is deepened by embracing community. So how does “…and follow me,” impact how we show up at the 2022 Gathering? First, it asks us to relate to one another with goodwill. The COVID Health and Safety Policy, put together by a diverse group of Friends in service to us all, has created a policy that seeks to create an environment where, through the lens of safety, the greatest number of Friends feel we can say yes to being present with one another. It doesn’t mean that the policy is convenient or easy. Showing love for one another sometimes requires a degree of surrender to the needs of those around us.
I believe “…and follow me” invites me to do something that might be uncomfortable for me, like wearing a mask indoors, because loved ones in our community will be safer for it. I hope that to you “…and follow me” also means that we all show up prepared to care for the community in Divine love by following the COVID Health and Safety policy. Remember that children under 5 cannot be vaccinated yet and there will be other vulnerable people among us. It will take the whole community participating in the spirit of “…and follow me” to keep us all as safe as possible.