Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Steve Prince week was so good...

After a whirlwind week of art and kids and community it's too easy for me to let my mind move to "the next thing" without deeply reflecting on the good that we've experienced together.  The gospels demonstrate over and over and over that God's Kingdom (the center and heart of Jesus' mission and message) is something that is easily overlooked.  It doesn't look like we thought it would, it doesn't accomplish what we assumed it might, it includes folks we had every good reason to write off as outsiders to its joyful, hopeful experience, and it shows up in small, cramped spaces we don't normally give the benefit of a second glance.

So I benefit from taking the time to consider where I might have seen signs of God's coming reign this week (and make no mistake...it's coming and it's already here).

1.  I saw it in the joyful, regular presence of two girls that haven't been able to come on Thursday evenings.
2.  It was there in the fact that a group of incredibly diverse individuals were finding commonality and participating together in a way that began to minimize and deconstruct the boundaries that our "first impressions" so often erect...and doing that by creating beautiful things together.
3.  I saw it in the way a group of mostly-white folks, young and old, sat, listened and learned in respectful, appreciative awe of a black man because he was absolutely worth respecting (and this in a town where maybe 2% of the folks that teach anything are people of color).
4. I saw the kingdom in a diverse group of guys enduring with grace and love a very long, uncomfortable situation (full of drunken revelry and even loudly yelled racial epithets) to cheer on a struggling younger brother in a cage fight...something he'd been looking forward to like a kid at Christmas.
5.  It was there in the reality (no doubt hidden to some) that relatively wealthy, well-educated folks were coming to a trailer park to learn about beauty and creativity and the awe-inspiring love of Jesus.
6.  I saw it in the gracious willingness of brothers and sisters to stay home with kids, and watch the kids of others, so that other brothers and sisters could participate more fully in the weeks events.
7.  It was there in the way many adults from the neighborhood were courageous enough to come out and do art with us this week and (hopefully) felt welcomed, encouraged, and accepted as they were.
8.  It was there, and continues to be there, in the conviction of many of us that the ground we "consecrated" this week was holy before we set foot on it, because God has, in James words, chosen the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of his Kingdom.  We who live outside the Village are, in the way of Jesus, the indebted ones.  We are the learners.  We are the ones, as much as anyone else, being rescued by the work we're all doing there together.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Love and great thankfulness to you all in Jesus, the vagabond king.

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