November 28, 2011
Welcome to Consider the Lilies! We're so thankful you visited our website. We know it's small beginnings so far, but with your help we think it can grow into a much bigger community and resource for Coptic women. We look forward to your insight and contribution.
Our goal, from the beginning of this project, is to develop a meaningful place for Coptic women to interact, grow, and share in community with one another. With the supervision and blessing of H.G. Bishop Serapion, we're finally up and running!
As we have been putting this website together, I have been blessed to be a part of some really insightful discussions about what it means to have a good community and to have a space to grow and learn from one another. With the start of the advent fast, the church presents us with so many beautiful meditations on the Virgin Mary. In my reflections on St. Mary and community, I am realizing that she presents us with beautful insights and examples into how we can contribute to and participate in godly community.
The time that St. Mary spent being pregnant with Christ is a crucial step in His plan for the Incarnation. I have never experienced motherhood firsthand, but from family and friends I have seen that the intimate relationship between mother and child starts long before the child is born. The same is true for the Virgin Mary-- Jesus developed inside of her, they bonded and grew in relationship with one another, and his entry into the world was the next natural step from that season in her life. The same is true of our lives with Jesus. We must be growing and bonding with Him, allowing Him to become a continually increasing part of us, and then we will naturally be able to share him with the world. Our ability to have deep relationships and meaningful community with one another comes from having the same thing with Christ.
Another thing that I appreciate very much about St. Mary is that her sense of community is very outwardly focused. In the Magnificat, which she says when she first visits her cousin Elizabeth, she shares how deeply God has blessed her, but also praises Him for his mighty works and his justice: "He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty." (Luke 1: 52-53) Real Christian community can't happen without a deep sense of love for others outside the community-- this is why the Church has always taught us to care for the poor and the marginalized. With your help, we can find ways to do this in our online community as well.
St. Mary's visit to Elizabeth is one of my favorite things to read about her, because the Magnificat is such a beautiful and deep prayer. But I also love to see the way that St. Mary showed such a deep love for Elizabeth. She provided her with care and affection in a way that is so specific to women. I love the image of these two women, young and old, different stages of pregnancy, staying together and sharing their experiences. What a beautiful image of community! They both had so much to offer and learn from one another.
As we worked on developing this website and talked about our vision for this online community, we realized that we are all so blessed to have an abundance of women in our lives that we can look up to and have community with, just like St. Mary and Elizabeth did with one another. With St. Mary as our guide and role model, we look forward to growing a deeper community with you.