"Emma from Reading Sometimes whole-life discipleship looks like being vulnerable in community.
Jesus said, ‘where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ (Matthew 18:20). For many of us who are disabled and chronically ill, gathering in person is rare or impossible, so instead, we gather online. Online, we share our joys, hurts, hopes, and fears. Online, we support each other and pray together. We know God is with us in these conversations – giving us the words we need to share and building communities of support and prayer. I serve God in this space by being myself, openly and honestly, in weakness and strength, trusting God through it all. I share my fears and prayers, celebrate my joys, give praise, offer support and an ear, and trust God will provide me with the words I need to share. I never know what God might lead me to in my own life or with others, but I know He will be with me. Leading a small group course about everyday discipleship changed the way I thought about my life. It led me to lay ministry and has kept inspiring me: I see God at work every day. Reflection Emma is serving God in a place that might not be deemed ‘fruitful’ by the world’s standards. Even when we feel locked in or powerless, God sees us and invites us to be part of his work. Where might this be true for you? Emma is doing as Romans 12:15 says – empathizing with others, making space for communal rejoicing, helping, and mourning. Those actions reflect Jesus’ character and the way he came alongside people, meeting them in their pain as well as their rejoicing. As Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, ‘there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.’ Who might need your silent listening today? To whom could you speak encouragement and understanding? Prayer Lord, I recognize my need for places where I can share my joys, hurts, hopes, and fears. I thank You for them where I have them and pray for them where I don’t. Whatever I face on my frontline today, whoever I meet, online or in-person, help me, like Emma, to trust You will give me the needed words and responses. Challenge me, Lord, whenever my assumptions, actions, and selections exclude others."