Sunday, June 22, 2014

Faith In Action

You've probably noticed that this blog has been short on new content for about a week. As usual for this time of year, I went on mission trip. Me and four other adults led fifteen youth on an adventure of body and soul as we served Christ in and through our neighbors. The work was primarily building wheelchair ramps for impoverished and physically disabled residents of Brazoria County. Mission trips are really like community steps into the Kingdom of God in the here and now. There are moments and places where the line between Heaven and Earth blurs, and trips like this take such a place and time and extend it out for as long as it can go.

Of course God and our Lord Jesus Christ are the foundation of all we do. Worship, Bible study, these give form and function to the work, and allow a good experience to become a divine experience. But I am reminded again and again that such moments cannot happen unless people respond to the opportunities that God gives them. People are to God's Word what air is to human speech. They are the medium through which the voice of God moves. So many people came together to make this message loud and clear. The clients are central to that experience. When the people you go to help reach out to you, you realize the real meaning of mission. It is not so much going out as a salvific hand as having God's saving hand come to you in the encounter with the other.

There is also the community itself. The youth I lead worked so hard and focused on what is really important. I love them all so much. I realized that the depth of feeling and community that is formed is really only possible in the shadow of the cross. Rene Girard says that the only force that can create a deeper community than violence is Christ Jesus. I realized this week how true that really is. Gangs create community of deep power. But that depth is satanic, rather than divine. Christians are the only ones to offer a community with such a deep connection that is not based either on power or on complete renunciation of all attachments (Buddhism).

But ultimately, the biggest human element in all of this is the organization that provided us with work sites, clients, tools and plans. Faith In Action of Brazosport is an organization that I am proud to have worked with many times. This was the first time they organized work and opportunities for a camp run solely by one church, and it is something I'd wanted to work with them on for quite a while. We provided our own lodgings, food, and worship, and they supplied everything else. I cannot overstate how good they are at what they do, and they live out the call to serve Christ in others as few other organizations do. I've worked with many similar groups over the years, and I've not found one that is superior to them. We all had a great time, and grew in our relationship with God, thanks largely to their efforts and organizational skills. To them and to everyone involved, I say "thank you".

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