Editor’s Note: In honor of Native American Heritage Month, RELEVANT is honored to feature the voices of indigenous Christians. The following is an excerpt from Kaitlin B. Curtice’s new book: Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places.
Jared and Lindi invited us to their house for a get-together of close friends, and we were excited, but a little stumped. People we’d only known for a few weeks were bringing us in and covering us in hospitality, but we weren’t sure why. Lindi announced that she was pregnant, and we all cried, and Travis and I got in the car saying these people will be our people for a long time.
The next week, we found out I was pregnant. We drove to Mama Carmen’s coffee shop where Lindi worked to see her and Jared. They looked at us for a few seconds and knew. We laughed and cried and it hit us again. These people will be our people.
Jared and Lindi brought us into a community of Christ-seeking, love-abiding sinners who drank in the Spirit of God in all ways they could muster. Our first evening with this group, I walked into the kitchen and met our new friends. Amber was pregnant and excused herself for looking so big and round; I thought she was the prettiest and sweetest thing I’d seen in a long time. Lindsey had just had Nora, and brought us into her home with such grace and warmth, I could barely contain my emotion.
We were home.
It was a gathering of mamas in all shapes and sizes, of dads and dads-to-be seeking companions for the long journey. We spent nights in worship, our group growing bigger and bigger as the weeks went by, filling up with college students and young professionals who longed for more connection.
We laid hands on each other, prayed for life and truth. We sang over each other as our boys got bigger and bigger and we dealt with health scares and passing due dates. We all struggled to know each other and to know God, because we were safe to struggle there. It was organic living in every sense, the most native of all kinds, where the bond of Christ starts at the root and blooms into fragrant, fruitful worship.
Joseph and Lindsey welcomed us again and again into their kitchen and backyard garden where tomatoes grew in abundance. We watched over each other. We prayed for each other. We remembered Christ’s body and blood embodied in each other, a sacred and real-life glory.
One night at Seth and Amber’s old stone house, we had a community group campout, people piled in every room, all across the living and dining room floors in sleeping bags, those with babies upstairs in beds. We sat in the living room, staring at the candles and pictures on the extra-large fireplace. We believed that to serve each other, we had to understand each other, to know the details of each other’s lives so that the grace which was spread over us could continue to fill us, bring us closer in. We shared stories of who we were and how we’d come to be that way.
That night was story upon story, of fathers leaving their children or parents forever faithful, of the brokenness of the Church and the holiness of it. There was laughter and tears, with steaming coffee and warm potluck food.
Barbara Brown Taylor said, “At the very least, most of us need someone to tell our stories to. At a deeper level, most of us need someone to help us forget ourselves, a little or a lot.”
Not long after that night, our community group which had built up to an average of over 50 people per week, decided to branch off because splitting up sounded too painful. We divided up into smaller groups, still staying tethered to each other, to our stories, to what had happened there.
In those short two years, I didn’t see the fruit that was being born in me, but today I recognize the grace in all of it. I long for that season of community before the branching, a vision of Kingdom on earth, a picture of Kingdom to come.
The reality is, there are people all over, in every season, who can be our people, if we only stop and look, if we only listen and share and understand that loving community takes time and starts as a seed in the heart, just like it took a year for us to find Jared and Lindi, Joseph and Lindsey, Seth and Amber.
And the Spirit spreads from there. Glory finds us once again, and God calls humanity to Himself in the face of every joy and pain, in the face of the Church and all that she embodies in a community of worshippers and storytellers.
Used with permission.