Tuesday, March 25, 2008
How do you celebrate?!
About a month ago we were praying for our friends' neighborhood - and found ourselves discussing what we could do to bless them for Easter. The whole process and action made me rethink (again), what it means to be LIVING here on Earth, with an unearthly mission. If we are seeing the world through perspectives which have originated in Christ - it seems to me that it's not too difficult to "think outside the box". I mean, who better to show us the way of "outside" thinking, than the one who came to Earth to blow the religious minded know-it-alls out of the water? So, I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but it did - that something as simple as serving breakfast, and hiding eggs, would show Christ's love in such a big way.
We knew we wanted to do 3 things - love people, feed people and give kids some big fun! And we accomplished those 3 things - and more importantly, I believe that God totally went before us and when people arrived - they were eager to make relationships with us, and hungry for a different level of community. It was really cool.
About 2 weeks before Easter, we were ironing out some details, but weren't sure how many people to plan for. We prayed for a number - Aaron heard "19" and Tommy heard "20" - And we think there were 40 (so yeah, God is even that faithful, to let us know how to plan!!). We planned for 60 because there were about 20 of us in our group... yes, seriously!
We all gave what we could give physically- time, money, stuff out of our own cupboards, anything. We passed out flyers about a week in advance - inviting people to an Easter Party, with free breakfast and an egg hunt - and people came! They even came early... it was so great. We were making sausage and pancakes as fast as we could - and the people were coming! The kids in our group, hid about 500 eggs in an empty lot ... and the kids came to find them! It was really great! I don't think there were any of us that didn't make a real connection with someone there that morning - either because we have kids the same age, or just took the time to sit and talk to them... or whatever it was (Jesus). We talked about community, and loving each other, and family ... not your everyday conversations with "strangers". So, just like I said, obviously God had gone before us to soften hearts and make these conversations so easy. Which is the part we couldn't have done - we prayed that we would bless people, and I believe we did that.
So, what part of this was "outside" the box? Mostly, I think seeing a need and seeing an opportunity to bless others as a priority in place of all the other "things" we usually do on Easter, which are pretty self-serving, traditional, and at times the truth of the day seems to get lost in the shuffle. Instead - we took this opportunity to celebrate that Jesus is alive - by BEING alive! - By showing others that there's hope. By our kids getting a sweet opportunity to "share Jesus' love" (a direct quote from a 4 year old in our life group).
When thinking about this opportunity today - I began to sing a VERY old song, I grew up singing in church (and I can hear my Great-Grandmother's alto voice in my head when I sang it today)...
In blessing, we are blessed
In loving, we are loved
In giving we receive
Everything from God above
It's the doing of the word
Not just the hearing of it
That makes it a reality
That's what living in the Kingdom
Is all about
For people like you and me...