“This model of mission is rooted in walking together, experiencing mutual respect, and working together to share in God’s love and God’s mission.”
What does the word ‘accompaniment’ mean to you? How about the word, ‘mission’? Do they have anything to do with each other?
The first time I learned this word, it was from a music teacher – explaining what we call the person who plays piano while a choir sings or a soloist plays their instrument. As I grew as a musician, I was sometimes a soloist, sometimes in the choir, and, as time passed, I played the role of accompanist more and more often. I learned to love the relationship between two musicians – listening to one another, responding to their musical impulses with a swell in volume or slowing the tempo for just a moment… This relationship is life-giving and humbling – a relationship of giving and receiving simultaneously and constantly.
The second time I learned this word, it was from a missionary. From someone who had dedicated their life to serving God. I remember experiencing surprise – how can a word that has so much beauty, “Accompaniment,” be placed right next to a word that reminds me of such hurtful stories in our human past, “mission”? And then the missionary explained: this model of mission is not one dominating the other, one saving the other, or one fixing the other. This model of mission is rooted in walking together, experiencing mutual respect, and working together to share in God’s love and God’s mission.
The third time I learned this word, I was a missionary. I was a missionary experiencing the reality of being utterly vulnerable with a community. Of learning about how I could share my gifts and passions and where I needed others to fill me with theirs. I was not a missionary – We were missionaries with each other – accompanying each other in the melodies and harmonies of our everyday lives being God’s body together.
To quote myself from a blog during that time: “So I wonder then, is my call as a missionary so rare? Or is this idea of accompaniment something much more universal? Is it our call as humans to journey with each other through our crazy lives on this planet? Is that what being a social creature is all about?” (You can read more of my missionary musings here)
Where do you see accompaniment in your life? Who are you walking with?
-Allison Sutton, Youth and Young Adult Ministries