The uninvited dinner guest at the celebration of life.
You know, the One who slips in the back door completely unnoticed,
camouflaged by the crowded chaos...cavalier smile in tact.
We don't expect any unwanted visitors.
We think the perimeter of our world view is perfectly air tight.
But somewhere in the dance of life we change partners.
Somehow compassion slips away and contentment takes its place.
Because maybe the rhythm of mercy just doesn't keep time
with our own needs, our own dreams and our own responsibilities.
In our scripted plans of daily living there is a voice.
It pleads us to stay on task to ignore the interruption of the divine.
It begs us to stay in the comfort of our homes to avoid the need
outside of our own four walls.
It offers exemption...
Someone else will engage the broken
Someone else will visit the sick
Someone else will help the orphan
Someone else will feed the hungry
Someone else will encourage the downcast
Someone else will...
We get lost in the numbers.
I've been there.
We get overwhelmed when we consider the great sea of need
across the world's horizon.
I've been there too.
I recently heard someone say:
"Do for one, what you wish you could do for many."
Because YES there IS great need in Africa, in South America and in distant
lands we may never touch with our own hands.
Yet one needn't venture there to find the face of suffering.
In the reaches of our own little world there are roads right around us
littered with sadness and pain...with loss and hopelessness.
In our very own community...
Our melting pot of soccer moms and power suits,
where backyard barbecues and concrete jungles define American dreams
In our encounters with friends and strangers...we find 'picture perfect' fading....
into a flawed image.
We are an imperfect people.
We are an imperfect people who happen to need each other.
Who happen to NEED each other...even in our imperfections.
So what would happen if we learned to gaze beyond our own tattered fences
and our own troubles and demands?
Would we see?
Could we see what is hidden by the thin dark shroud of the status quo and of
the problem of our own pain?
Could we still our hurried hands and racing minds long enough to
lift the veil to SEE someone else?
"Beneath the worst the world can do, there is always the glimmer of the best." -Frederick Buechner
It is the glimmer that glows even in the darkest of sorrows
It is the beautiful belief that "our present sufferings are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed..." (Romans 8:18)
The dark world around us so desperately needs this truth...as do we.
And if we paused maybe the glimmer inside of us would glow bright enough to catch their eye.
And if we paused maybe they would see hope cast its brilliant light
into the darkest places of our own complex universes
and know the light was indeed TRUE.
If we paused maybe we could become
A Living Invitation
To walk in the wide grace of forgiveness
To behold the beauty of redemption
To breathe every breath with the hope of eternity
"But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display
in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge
of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance
of Christ among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing."
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
And the invitation is NOT an obligation
The invitation is NOT an action item conquered and crossed off of our scripted lists
The invitation is NOT an accessory to our own agenda
The invitation is a call to love.
A RESPONSE to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because there is a difference between feeling obligated and being compelled
by the overwhelming and inconceivable love of God shown to us through Christ Jesus.
Our life is a response.
Our time is a response
Our sacrifice is a response
And still...our community...and the world around us waits.
Hovering over the scripted plans of daily living there is a voice.
It is the voice of love
It is the whisper of compassion
It is the song of hope
Calling out in the noise of life.
Let it be silenced no more.