"You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." (John 13:13-17 ESV)
It has always been about service for me, this journey in the wilds of this world towards a destination that I've been promised and yet never have been to. It is the backbone of my faith, the evidence of the reality of its ebb and flow and the example set forth by my Messiah, Savior and Teacher. But, simple service…..the volunteering of muscles and sinew, skills and supportive roles, is never been the passion, just 'something' to do until that which God has impassioned me to join Him in doing presents itself for my service; deep abiding and passionate to the exclusion of all else. These are the deep Christians, these are the foundation of any church, any ministry and any mission. Without the deep passionate service of the connected people (purpose to 'opportunity') all is lost within the great idea of community….
But, if you have read my blog for any length of time, one of the great mistakes that the community of Christ, aka the Church, has been guilty of is telling those passionate people that they must be mundane or sacrificial in their service…….there is no place for passionate sacrifice. I was allowed, in the experience of the Bowery Mission in New York, not just to be immersed in a group of both staff and 'residents' that were passionate about God's intentional moving in their lives and community but I was immersed with thirteen other people from my community and watched as God tapped each one of us in the unique ways He had impassioned us to serve. The resultant 'mosaic' was a stunningly beautiful picture of awesome love, conviction and power that rocked the foundation of the Bowery community, not just the men behind its red doors but the open community surrounding its building. Life, messy and with broken and imperfect people, blossomed in the darkness of the worldliness surrounding those doors…..sustainable outside its walls by the renewal within them. An impossible thing, maybe, but empowered and possible because of God as evidenced by the example of His Son.
We have told ourselves for too long that the impossible is impossible. Satan has used this listless, sleepy ignorance of professing Christians to strengthen his position and disrupt lives that would otherwise be serving God's purpose and kingdom. The purposing of who we are under the blood of Christ and seen in the completeness of God's design is an impossibly achievable thing because of where we come from or who we were. We are not who we were, if we are a chosen, favored, cherished, adopted and purposed child in God.
We serve an impossible God who did the impossible thing in the sending of His Son so that we could be impossible people that scream His praises and ooze His glory without effort, without thought and with a passion that defies the storms of the seas and the tornados of the landscape……….
"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do in order to have what you want." Margaret Young.
As I step into this new season of the journey…..the wind's kicking up a bit more and the sea chop is becoming something wicked…..and I wonder if this is really what I should be doing……
An impossible thing…….
Can you imagine a single father of two children going to seminary full-time and working full-time (hoping to get a job soon too)?
Okay then….imagine that same situation with one of the kids being special needs.
Imagine that 1 out of 15 students in a class is given such a waiver of the bachelor requirement, only 3 in the entire program of 30. 10% of 10%.
Imagine actually going to seminary, working full time, being in ministry, being in a relationship and doing all of this for four years instead of the seven allowed……..
Like a bunch of guys who became homeless, either through the systems of evil that defeated them or mistakes they made or simple economics, who have gathered on what was one of the most notorious streets in New York City and are slowly rebuilding their lives and the lives of their fellow residents to become better than they ever were, solid and secure in Christ………
Or a single mother who raises two daughters; one with diabetes and the other with asthma….who works and goes to school for years and finally gets a nursing degree……..
Or a young woman who faces an impossible choice and makes one of the hardest decisions of her life; to give her baby daughter up for adoption……..
Yeah, pretty impossible………..
"The passion to achieve what seems impossible is one of the deepest passions of mankind. One might have thought that man, being a reasonable creature, would have averted his gaze from the impossible. It would seem natural that he should give his energies to things within the compass of his powers." George H. Morrison writes in his devotional entitled The Lure of the Impossible. "But there is that within the human heart which is always suspicious of the easy thing, and yearns for victories beyond its grasp………….And the wonderful thing is that whenever Christ does that, a faith is kindled equal to accomplishment, and things that yesterday were quite impossible become perfectly possible today."
I have been called to serve…..a mighty, impossible and inspiring God……
Not quite impossible as it once seemed………………