Monday, March 31, 2014

For Jonah, spewing meant a new beginning

‘These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation: I know what you have done, and that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish that you were either cold or hot! but since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I intend to spit you out of my mouth! While you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and there is nothing that I need’, you have no eyes to see that you are wretched, pitiable, poverty-stricken, blind and naked. My advice to you is to buy from me that gold which is purified in the furnace so that you may be rich, and white garments to wear so that you may hide the shame of your nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes to make you see. All those whom I love I correct and discipline. Therefore, shake off your complacency and repent. Revelation 3:14-20

So for some reason Fred is bringing down his middle school kids on a field trip to Heather and Dustin’s house and have them explain what it means to minister to the poor.  And although Heather and Dustin live across from the Primavera homeless outreach and just down the block from Without Borders, it’s really not about passing out donuts and gospels of John at the neighborhood park. And it’s not about inviting people to church to hear a sermon and go forward for prayer, although these are not bad things. They are just not the thing. These are activities for a to do list. So then we can move onto the next item on the list, like write some thank you notes to those amazing family members in California or I really need to clean out the cupboard next to the ironing board. Which are also not bad things.

And oh yes, I am rich and have nothing that I need. I mean, I ate brunch at the Pebble Beach Golf Course Beach House yesterday. Pretty spiffy.  And next week I am going to be on a team of clever dedicated educators accrediting an amazing school surrounded by snow-capped Rocky Mountains. And the next week I am going to be sleeping in the dirt with 800 happy teenagers and playing “Pato, Pato, Pavo” with cute neighborhood kids and sipping coconuts under a palm tree. Pretty easy to slide into complacency.

And because I am pretty tired and late for school… I am going to cheat and share from Heather, because these are the words that I am going to take into my day, my very full day.

God is SO much bigger than these trite little phrases and cute little boxes. God is so much more REAL.  I think as Dustin and I searched and explored, we began to realize that there is no divide between the sacred and the secular, between “Christian” life and just plain everyday life. Because the Holy Spirit is in us, every activity is sacred and a spiritual act of worship. I don’t want to sound wishy-washy...because actually, living out church every day, day-in, day-out requires careful listening to where the Holy Spirit is requires faithful responsiveness and attentiveness to His voice. But with that, small interactions become meaningful.  

For example...Dustin was hanging out with little mighty mouse the other day when he noticed that our neighbor to the south of us was back in town after being gone for a month or so.  He felt a little micro nudging in her direction and so he just went over and knocked on her door.  As it turns out, her son had just passed away from cancer.  She lives alone here in Tucson and didn’t really have anyone to talk to.  Dustin meant to just stop by and say, “welcome back,” but instead it turned into an hour and a half visit where he could just be present with her and hear her story- helping her to feel known and loved.  

Isn’t that the gospel?  The good news.  That God knows us and loves.  I think as Christians, our number one job is to extend out that love towards others.  One of Dustin and my life-verses is John 13:34- A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. We don’t particularly have all the answers, we are still desperately wrestling with “What does it mean to live a life pursuing Christ,” but I do think that over and over Jesus reminds us that it really boils down to love.  By loving well, people like Sloane experience Jesus.  

Repent. See with fresh eyes. Smear your salve, Lord Jesus, with whatever it takes. Amen.