Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stomping on plastic bags so they don't blow away

Indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:3-6

So one thing about being married to a worship leader is that some weekends I get to go to church a couple of times. And just like reading a book twice through, there is lots more time to consider what is listen to the stories, to pray for the body, to watch the Compassion film twice and remember those joyous mornings of delivering sponsor letters to families and drinking just-roasted coffee made in a sock with lots of sugar and sharpening crayons with a machete and of delight in the throbs of the deep bass and the waves of glorious harmonies, again and again. It's a beautiful thing, this very flawed but in process community which is a source of comfort, strength and most of all big picture perspective as I told an about-to-be-married couple last night over dinner. 

We're Your church
We're Your steeple
And You have made 
Your home with people 

It totally worked out today. I knew from last night that Dave from 4Tucson was going to share his vision for the Christian community to bring about transformation for the prosperity of the entire city. So I did my get-ready-for-el-Camino walk Mike-Birrer-style, picking up trash and walking through the University neighborhood alleys connecting Broadway and Speedway, watching and noticing, searching for hidden treasure. And I saw more clever gates and front doors than one could imagine. And polished wood floors gleaming behind billowing transparent white curtains. And many more beer-sticky front porches heaped with busted sofas. Busted sofas was a pretty consistent theme. And flowers in creative potting. And tucked up against the wall of where the Upper Room used to meet and sing and dance before God a very neat and tidy guy who looked like a grad student was ordering his recyclable Trader Joe bags as he straightened himself up from a most likely uncomfortable night on the sun-cracked asphalt. The dumpster next to him rumbled with an enterprising older man sifting for aluminum cans, and just down the block a cheery Food Conspiracy employee smiled, "Beautiful day for a walk, eh?" Indeed. 

The beginnings of a community garden. Lots more beer cans and half-empty energy drink jugs and half-finished assignments on Supreme Court cases behind the Tucson High Stadium. And more miniature bottles of whiskey and gin than one really likes to find. Back at the Vineyard Chris the pastor is sweeping the sidewalk again. Lex is raking under the olive trees. 

Young and old will turn to Jesus
Swing open you heavenly gates
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring you joy 
Dancers who dance upon injustice

Dear Lord, may they must know we are Christians by our love.

Let the kingdom come.

And Dave’s sermon was John 17, the prayer of Jesus for His friends; this is what was on the heart of Jesus talking to His Father, now that He was staring at the Cross, and the time, the time for which He had come was staring back at Him.

Dave pointed out that Jesus also said what He was NOT praying for. He was NOT praying for the world, the so-loved-the-world world, but for these twelve, that they may be one, even as We are one. The most important thing for Him was that the Church be unified. Even as We, the multifaceted yet connected Trinity are One.

We are not the body without one another. Since we are connected to the same head, we are part of the same body. Jesus did not ask that The Father take His friends out of the world, but this unity is to flow out into the world. The prayer of Jesus was for complete unity, so that the world will know His Father’s love for the-God-so-loved-the-world world, that He sent His only begotten Son. 

We're Your church
We're Your steeple
And You have made 
Your home with people 

And God is at work here in the city of Tucson through His Church. As He is at work across the globe. And may we continue to call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and let us look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, that we may find the fear of the LORD and know His heart.