How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully
receive from Him the little things? If we do not give thanks daily
for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where
there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much
weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only
keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so
far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our
fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there
for us all in Jesus Christ. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
This quote strikes at the heart of what I often think is a weak side
of my charismatic church back ground. We have been over-stimulated in
our gift focused conversations, sermons and stories. We lose the
miracle of little things in the buzz of talking about supposedly big
things. We pray for revival and forget to smile and be friendly. We
ask God for miracles but can't handle reading His word. We love the
tingle of emotional and moving worship but balk at faithful service
that isn't always so glamours.
One of the amazing truths that I am seeing in our journey to live
church in and among an urban neighborhood is the power of presence.
Simply being present unlocks potential opportunity for relationship.
People recognize faces here. The people who live around each other
notice what is taking place in their little world, good or bad. There
is a rhythm of life and change is easily noticed. Being someone for
somebody in someplace is powerful around here.
It is the life found in the simple incarnational phrase about Jesus
in the gospels..."He came and dwelt among us". Simple yet profoundly
challenging in our increasingly private, digital and isolated worlds.
Learning to do this together as a church community is vital to
building on the momentum and sensitivity of doing something new in a
community like ours. People are watching people and a group of people
can leverage that consciousness in their favor.
I see that happening with our Kid's Quest ministry on Sunday
afternoons. People notice kids playing, singing and eating outside. I
watched a little girl straining her neck to watch from a few houses
away. She was invited by the team but didn't come, I am not sure
why, but she sat and watched with full interest.
Never underestimate the power of simple or weak things...
God draws straight lines with crooked sticks. -Joni Eareckson Tada