Sometimes wonderful things happen by accident.
Cathedral in the Night holds a “coffee hour” every Tuesday at 3:00 at Brueger’s in Northampton. Since it’s inception, the time and format have evolved as needed, but it has always been a place for the community to come and join together in fellowship.
At one point, we introduced the idea of going around the table, each person sharing their highs and lows of the past week. Then, at the end of the hour, we would go around the table, each person praying for the person to their right, with a focus on praying for something that person shared regarding their lows for the week.
The problem was that by the time we got to the end of the hour, we would forget what everyone’s lows were, after an hour of other conversation. So the solution was to pray immediately after sharing the highs and lows, while it was still fresh in our memory.
There was an unexpected and wonderful side effect to this. Previously, after people shared their lows, even though it was expressed at the onset that we shouldn’t use the time to try to advice others of how to solve their problems, it would still happen. There was always someone who would try to impose their wisdom on others, usually with the best of intentions, but often instead ruffling feathers rather than actually helping. However, once we began praying immediately after sharing our lowpoints, we would pray to leave the solution in God’s hands.
Once we let it go and left it to God, there was no more reason for the “problem solvers” to dwell on what others shared, and we were able to spend the rest of the time on general spiritual discussions involving the community. This simple shifting of format, while not intentional, eliminated much discord and made for a much more calming fellowship for all.