I seek to inhabit the margins of my city because obedience to Christ’s mission demands it of me. I do not go as a rescuer or self-appointed sole arbiter of truth or instructor on preferred ways of doing life. No, I desire to go as a fellow sojourner: to live life alongside my friends in the neighborhood; to open my heart to them; to reveal my brokenness and humanity while still testifying to the hope Jesus gives me because of his work on the cross; to die to self so that Christ may increase through my life and witness, and in the relationships I develop in the community. The words may sounds pretty on this blog. Applying them is messy and hard in real life. It would be far easier to stick with writing about it and to put off continued intentional application for a vague future date.
But that is an unacceptable option.
Relationships take work. They require me to stop talking and start listening so that I may better understand my new friends. And when I do talk, it should be in a posture of humility, not bombastic certitude.
Therefore, I intend to find fellow collaborators in my faith community to pray with me and for me and to do life in similar ways among the marginalized so that we may develop long-term relationships which are transformative and hopeful as a witness to God’s love. I am praying it will stir hope for the kind of change that can occur in a community when Christ followers actively seek to love people in the way of Jesus.
I love all kinds of people. The margins are teeming with the poor, to be sure. But from a certain point-of-view, the affluent often also inhabit the fringes of church life by virtue of a lack of relationships with Christ followers and with God. When opportunities present themselves, I seek to know them as well.
Yet, the opportunity set before my local church primarily is with lower income apartment dwellers. So, off I go into a strange counterintuitive journey. The trailhead is barely visible. The undergrowth is daunting. It won’t be pretty or easy, but by God’s grace it will be beautiful as a witness to his love.
Break camp and advance…