September 8, 2013

It wasn't planned. There was a service Sunday at church. A day where instead of church as usual we would be a church without walls and go out to serve our neighbors through building, gardening, painting and a prayer walk, which is what I volunteered for. Except as we stood up to leave one member said God had told him to go door to door and talk to our neighbors, pray with them and literally seek the lost sheep. This was not in his comfort zone. Our calling starts where our own strength ends so of course I said I would go too. Armed with shiny postcards with scribbled service times on the back and certain if there was one thing Christ told us to do it was to go - we went. 

Sunday morning is not ideal for door to door outreach. People go out Saturday nights and sleep in Sunday. Those who are awake are often in pjs and not to in the mood to discuss spiritual matters. But people began to open a few doors. Some neighbors thought because the building was huge the church must be and had felt uncomfortable just showing up. Some had other spiritual paths but seemed intrigued by a church that was open to community without a rigid agenda and ideology. Many had their own churches. 

Would you like us to pray?  

A minute or two into a conversation with a neighbor in the drizzling rain we would try to ask if there was anything we could lift up in prayer. The answer was often yes. Prayers for an ailing mother. Family finances. Direction. And from us, as we walked away, silent prayers that we had made some connection, that this small offering mattered somehow.

And then, in the midst of the rain, barking dogs and more often than not, unanswered knocking, In the middle of  conversations struggling to find connection - somehow we began to find them. Seeds. Seeds that the church planted years ago. Long before I even came to this city. A teen who had been part of an outreach. A man who remembered being given work on the grounds when he was out of work. And finally, a woman who remembered that someone from that big old church at the end of the street had once helped her friend displaced by fire move to another state. She wondered how that friend was doing. It was half prayer, half rhetorical question. But my fellow member surprised us both. "She's fine, I was the one who drove her and after that we kept in touch."  

The woman was a young mother then, but now has teens that need a mentor, perhaps she will bring them to meet our youth Pastor. We pray with her. We smile and linger in the light of a glimpse of the divine breaking through. We started off so concerned with what would we say? Would our words be enough? But a legacy of kindness - of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God had gone before us, had spilled through the streets of this community like tiny streams of living waters softening the ground for generations. Love speaks loudest without words but we have to be willing use our hands, our feet and sometimes our voices. As we walked back past house after house with dark shades drawn the rain fell harder. I imagined all those other seeds scattered in these streets. Perhaps the spirit was already stirring them back to life and we had simply to look into our neighbor's face, step out of our comfort and walk the muddy paths into the inconvenience of others' lives. Meet God where he has already been working.

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 I'm a designer, wife and mother of two.  I post my work and on the places where creativity and life’s clutter intersect. Looking for inspiration and finding balance.  Join me on the journey.

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TwitterRachel4My name is Rachel. Good to meet you. I like caramel coffee, the way patterns of light or color or ideas fit together, and mornings at the ocean. Dislikes include: political ads, conspicuous wealth and mornings in general. Together, my husband Buddy and I are daily challenged and blessed as we raise two children and run one business: By His Designs.

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