On Contemplating the Creche at the Retreat Center’s Chapel

Unfinished clay

like the rough-textured brown Christ child

on the sheepskin in the Chapel

surrounded by the glazed and polished saints

gazing adoringly at the formed, but unfinished clay.

So the saints and angels in heaven

and all the cloud of witnesses around me

Gaze in wonder and love

at the unfinished earthliness of my being,

Knowing that the Creator and Redeemer of all the Universe

is making me new in the likeness of Christ –

The Christ who became like I am

that I might become like God.

Not an ending, but a beginning

Not a leaving, but a lifting

Not a sending, but a taking with,

a journeying together

To carry the power of creation

into the relationships of the World.

“How, O Lord?”
“Come and see.”

–Nancy R. Smith, 1/10/98, as I was beginning a two-year apprenticeship
with the Guild for Spiritual Guidance.


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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