I was talking with a friend about how we need to radically welcome the “other”–those who are different and make us feel uncomfortable. Rev.Stephanie Spellers says, “We need them in our lives and communities for our salvation.”
“How do they save us?” she asked.
Since then I’ve been carrying that question around with me. How is each person I meet–especially those who are different–transforming me?
If I think about it theoretically, I can answer it easily by putting people in categories of those who affirm, challenge, inspire or humble me. But when I do that, I feel a dis-ease in my body. I sense the Spirit nudging me to be specific and ask, “Lord, how is the person I am with right now saving me? How is this person bringing God’s kingdom or making the body of Christ whole?”
So I’ve been asking these questions and paying attention to how God might be answering them.
After Bible study one evening, I gave each person a hug goodbye. I embraced one fellow and his body trembled with delight. He exclaimed softly, as he often does when something really good happens, “Wowie, zowie!”
His childlike response touched me deeply. I got a sense of how God must feel when we reach out to embrace our Creator in prayer. I can now imagine God smiling and trembling with delight.
There are things I need for my salvation that this man cannot give. But what he has given me–wowie, zowie–is a glimpse of God!
Then Peter said [to the lame beggar], “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” –Acts 3:6
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Partners of SoulStream community have been sharing their stories of love mischief. Here is one from Rob Peterson who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “On Holy Saturday I had an opportunity to join God in Flint, Michigan by serving at a water distribution centre. As the result of bureaucratic indifference and outright negligence, Flint’s water is contaminated with lead. Thousands of residents have been without safe water for months. With a few friends from church and dozens of others from across Michigan, we filled car after car with cases of water. We blessed people with kind words and prayers. We witnessed the fear-filled concern of parents for their children’s health.
“I don’t know how that love-mischief really mattered, but God opened my heart once again to the reality of suffering. God let me into the quiet silence of God’s love for the broken-hearted as people rallied together to stand beside others and offer love and grace.
“On that Holy Saturday God filled my car, my heart, not with water, but with a renewed hope that God’s community of friends matter as we participate in little acts of blessing and love.”