Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SURPRISED BY LOVE


The other day I took a walk in our woods and came upon a delightful surprise. There among the leaves was a bright yellow crocus peeking through. It didn't belong there. That little flower was supposed to bloom in a flower garden or along a path to someone's front door.

I was reminded of our last house. I found the land by noticing daffodils growing in clumps along a foundation where a house once stood. The house had fallen down years ago, but these little flowers kept a vigil each spring reminding visitors that life was once spent there.

Isn't that how we should be? As Christians, shouldn't we show up at places no one expects? Sure, flowers in a hot house are pretty. The garden sections at our local discount and home stores are lovely to look at, but nothing thrilling. I expect them to be there for me to pick and choose from. We Christians plant our rears on church pews and are expected to do so. But what if we Christians showed up in a totally foreign place, somewhere totally unexpected? Like a a bar?

Jesus did.

What if we showed up as a light where people go to hide in darkness? Okay, I know I'm on shaky ground with you now, but I must push on.

I remember once when a church I attended was wrestling with if they should conduct Saturday night services. One person spoke up in the negative. His reasoning was, "What if my neighbors don't see me going to church on Sunday? That would be a bad witness." My heart fell. His neighbors probably didn't give a flying fig if he went to church.

We must get out of our hot-house where we are expected to be. We must stand vigil for life no matter where it is. Our witness is our love!!!! Our witness is the pie we bake and take next door for no reason. Our witness is cutting our neighbor's lawn when they are under the weather. Our witness is being available.

So, where is our love best spent? On the pew or on the bar stool? I'm not advocating going to the bar every Saturday night and tying one on. But if I'm invited by someone, I'll go. You might be surprised how open folks are to the love of Christ when they are with someone who isn't "holier-than-thou."

Recently, I offered a cup of coffee to a man who is working on our house. He declined because his "church" frowned on coffee. He was a recent convert and by his expression I could tell he would have loved that cup of coffee. How badly I wanted to tell him that it wasn't what went into his mouth that defiles, it is what comes out. Says so in Matthew 15:11.

God is more concerned with the gossip, the criticism, the hurtful words, the lies, that come from the heart and out of the mouth than the wine that goes in.

Let's consider being the bright yellow crocus among the dead brown leaves in our community by our availability, love, and non-judgemental friendship. Over time we will earn trust, the walls will come down, and love will flow into others unhindered.

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