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The Pulse: The Heartbeat of Discipleship

Site Leader Katelyn reflects on the way we live out our value for Discipleship. We walk with people in the midst of the chaos, brokenness and joys of real life. When we vulnerably share longings; when we wonder and awe at things that delight us; we can turn toward God as source for hope and for healing.  And we courageously step together towards that hope. It is good news for our neighbours to learn that God cares about the things they care about, and God is bigger than the things that have hurt them and the things they fear. This is transformative!  Discipleship isn’t a class or coffee date, it’s lived out in the mess of life. 

Rocks to represent prayers from our community.

Our team has been intentionally getting to know our neighbours for over 5 years in Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood! This has created quite a vast web of relationships.  Some of these people we met because we live in the same apartments, some were part of a women’s walking group, some were involved in the drop-in centre, some helped plan community events.

As we walk with these individuals, we become familiar with their joys and longings. And we hear many common themes: A place to belong, safety for their family, holistic healing, reconciliation in relationships. What good news it is that we do not walk alone with these desires, we can hold them together, and ultimately give them to a God who cares.

Out of a desire to bring these beautiful neighbours together, our team started hosting “The Pulse” last year. We call it the Pulse because it’s a way to check in on how everyone’s doing and keep a pulse on the community!  Each month we gather around potluck snacks, usually with some kids playing at our feet. We take turns sharing what is going on in each of our lives and in the community. Then we close with a prayer or blessing.

A potluck lunch gathering of the Pulse last summer!

Donna has been a regular attendee of these gatherings. A faithful staff at our drop-in centre, the closing of the centre coincided with her housing falling through and shortly after, the death of her partner. She was forced to move outside of the community and has been feeling more isolated than ever. On our drives to and from these gatherings, she shares with me the importance of this social touchpoint. She especially liked the opportunity we had to pray with rocks recently!

Last month, in the season of early spring, new life and greening grass, I spread some rocks on a table and invited people to choose a rock and place it into jar, as if they were planting a seed. With each rock they placed, they could share a prayer or a hope for the community. We heard prayers for financial stability; health; safety on the buses; the kids in the community; teachers; reconciled relationships; grief.

It took courage for each member to share, to open their hearts with their longings. It seemed to meet a need: to be seen and heard and validated in these tender places. Momentum gathered as longings bubbled to the surface and rock after rock eagerly filled our jar. Eventually, one community member placed one last  rock in the jar and declared with a sassy smirk “I hope my driver is ready to take me home soon.” We all got the hint and closed the sharing time with this prayer by Ted Loder:

 It is spring, Lord,

 And my blood runs warm with the song of the sap,


 For a beauty I would become.

 And there is a promise in the season

 I know no name for

 Except life.

 O Lord, you have sketched the lines of spring.

 Be with me in my longing.

This is the vision of the Pulse, It's a touchpoint, it’s a place to belong, it’s an invitation to open up and meet the God who cares about the things you hold dear. It’s an opportunity to walk with each other toward this promise of life abundant.

Speaking our prayers out loud and standing witness to the longings of others is a core aspect of discipleship.

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