by Jacob Burson
I’m certain that Jesus watches our chaos as we get ourselves ready for a church event with his head in his palm. We rush around getting ready for a church service, getting ourselves ready, getting kids ready, racing the clock for small group, Sunday school class, covered dish dinner, or the always thrilling church meeting. Sometimes the most “unchristian” time in a Christian’s life are the moments preparing for a highly Christian event. The things we say, the anger we exude, the traffic we yell at.. All while on our way to “be with God”… Which is completely opposite to what scripture tells us, over and over again.
God usually shows up on the way. Our deepest moments with God and others happen in the middle of disruptions to our schedule. I know, we need proof..
Acts 3:1-7 (The Lame Beggar Healed) | Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Peter and John… Were heading to church to pray… Wonder if they were running late? Wonder what kind of inconvenience this lame man was for them, there laying at the gate of the temple? Surely it would’ve been easier to just keep walking and get to church for some coffee and “fellowship”? We expect God to show up for miracles during sermons, prayer time, and bible studies… That’s where we believe God does most of his work, but over and over again, scripture tells us a different story.
People gathering in communities around tables, people healed outside of churches and temples, out on the streets, chats on hillsides, walking down roads, floating in boats, grabbing water at wells.. This is where God shows up… While we’re “on the way” somewhere else. Water into wine (John 2), the late night talk with Nicodemus (John 3), Jesus calling the disciples (Luke 5), healing the paralytic (Luke 5), Fed the 5,000 (Luke 9). All of these huge biblical stories happened out in the community… Because that’s where Jesus was, sharing meals, talks, laughs, truth, and, most importantly, himself.
How about we carry ourselves with a posture of grace and humility and intentionally seeking authentic conversations with people, with no strings attached? Be with people who aren’t “our people.” Get out. Go somewhere, anywhere… Don’t forget to keep your head up, because God will probably show up before you get there.