Today I went to an open house for Our United Villages at the Rebuilding Center in North Portland. I was amazed by the holistic, relational, and service mentality demonstrated by the mission, purpose, staff, and stories that Our United Villages represents. The qualities of selflessness and support shared with Portland were incredible. It all started with neighbors meeting to answer “How did our society become so distanced, violent, and impoverished? and What can be done?”
Then came the story of David and his braces. His neighbors took time to know his dreams and needs. How is it that in the last five years I’ve missed opportunities to ask people about themselves because I offered them a sermon instead of active and thoughtful listening?
On my way home I cried because I thought what was shared was bold and beautiful. I also cried because I long for Christians to be known for their holistic living, loving, and serving attitude. I’m glad I can partner with their organization but I want to go deeper and really see activism and mission in the church change communities and countries. God wants me (and other Christians) to dream and live boldly because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in Christ. Even if we lose this life for him we have a purpose to continue serving and worshipping God in eternity.
Gardening, recycling, and neighborliness may not save anyone’s soul but they open us up to live authentic kingdom ethics where the Holy Spirit can do his job to demonstrate the love, grace, justice, and peace of choosing a relationship with God through Christ. I want to abide in Christ and share his abundant life with others not to make them think like, dress like, or sound like me, but so they can know and become like Jesus because I’m broken and messed up just like everyone else. Until I can trust in God with all my heart and lean on his understanding more fully in my life by having authentic, accountable, and love through relationships rooted in God’s word I can take no authority or wisdom as my own credit or doing. Thankfully, God is teaching me humility and gentleness as well as discernment and consistency to be able to share grace and truth with others as I am a traveler in this world along with everyone else. Thank you Jesus for teaching me today!