In the beginning, God gathers the waters at creation, making order out of chaos and forming the lands.
In the Bible, the Israelites gather manna in the wilderness, shepherds gather their sheep and kings gather their people. Exiles are gathered from afar when God brings them back to the land. The assembly gathers for worship, and crowds gather around Jesus. Disciples gather for prayer and whole cities gather to hear prophets, priests and preachers tell of God’s work in the world.
We, too, gather in our everyday lives. Friends and family gather to share a meal, witness a wedding, or grieve a loss. People gather to work for justice and offer service. We gather to support one another, and we gather to learn. We gather our voices in song and prayer. As communities of faith we gather for renewal, for inspiration and to share stories that remind us who we are.
We are gathered to be empowered and to be sent as God’s witnesses.
Today we remember Catherine Winkworth (d. 1878), John Mason Neale (d. 1866), hymn translators. This message is adapted from an article by Kate Elliott in Interchange, introducing the 2012-2013 Gather Bible study called “Gathered by God.” The study was written when the magazine changed it name from Lutheran Woman Today to Gather.