i have been reflecting alot recently on the last year we have been together as the [living] room family. it has been a year of unexpected turns…hidden surprises…and amazing blessings…but certainly in a different place than any of us expected.
if you are like me…there may have been times in your life when you have had big dreams…big ideas…wild expectations of some future event or endeavor…to only have the event or endeavor finally come with modest results. the best example i have of this is purchasing tickets to a metallica concert when i was a senior in high school. i loved metallica…man…they rocked. all i could think about was how awesome and how all-consuming this concert would be. i can still remember the anticipation and conversations with my friends leading up to the concert. it was going to be an amazing experience.
once we got settled into rupp arena in lexington…i remember thinking how far away our seats were from the stage…needless to say…a little discouraging. it didn’t feel like this really intense and in your face atmosphere that i had expected. when the lights went out…it started…and i just didn’t get very excited. it was kind of cool…but after about four songs…i thought…this isn’t really what i thought it was going to be. in fact…it was quite boring…and not even close to being the all-consuming experience i expected.
life lesson learned: sometimes we idealize future life events…and aren’t honest about our present reality.
there have been moments over the last year…with the [living] room…when we have fought idealizing what we thought we needed to be as a church in the future…compared to the reality of where God was leading us in the present.
i can’t tell you the number of times that i honestly struggled with this idea that the [living] room needed to be this polished, slick, media-driven event with alot of colored lights, flat-screen televisions, and all the bells and whistles. it seemed like everytime that i thought about it…Jesus kept bothering me….like…Jesus…the guy who hung out with the homeless, the sinners, the hurt and oppressed. he kept really bugging me and bothering me…because i was not interested in being like him…i just wanted to be a part of a cool thing God was doing…not so interested in the selflessness thing…the serving thing…the “loving other people who are really different than me” thing. and no matter how hard i fought the idealizations…the Truth kept stalking me. the reality was that God had different plans in store for the [living] room and our hearts.
Jesus never says to the poor, “come find the church; but he says to those of us in the church, ‘go into the world and find the poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned.’ Jesus in his disguises.” i couldn’t help but wonder if we had highlighted only some of the verses in our Bibles.
the reality…at each step of this faith-journey…was that God simply wanted the church…the hands and feet…the salt and light…not another production…not a cool thing. He wanted something holy…something set apart from the world…something sacramental. He wanted people who were ready to “live it” rather than “just talk about it” or “just study it.” He wanted people who understood the cost of discipleship…and who would take it full on. He wanted risk-takers…who were just crazy enough to not know what they were doing…other than being faithful in a moment. and finally…awakening to the reality…that Jesus did not seek out the rich and powerful to usher in the Kingdom of God…but rather…He sought the outcasts…the neglected…and those on the margins. that…is the reality of where God has led our community…known as the [living] room…over the last year. the way God has opened our eyes is better than anything i could have ever expected…or anything i could have ever idealized.
here’s to the second year….