I’m sitting in a Starbucks at the corner of 82nd and Holgate. Rush hour is in full swing, both inside the restaurant and on the streets outside. A swirling sea of humanity. This location is the southwestern corner of the square, that arbitrary geographical region which my church is in the process of adopting. I say process because it has not happened yet, at least not in this corner of the square. We are focusing closer to our facility to start, a wise choice, and definitely not the full extent to which our influence will be felt in this neighborhood.
So I sit here, watching people and praying and wondering. There are myriad kinds of people in the square. The nations live here. And so do the marginalized. In the evening prostitutes can occasially be spotted on 82nd trying to fulfill the quotas set by their handlers. Drug dealers aren’t that far away either. The homeless wander up and down the major thoroughfares, hoping to get a few dollars here and there.
I wonder, what can be done to show these people the love of Jesus? How might Jesus use us to penetrate the drug-induced stupor of the addict? The hardened veneer of the prostitute who privately cries out for deliverance from this hell she is living? The confused mind of the youth who are influenced by a multi-billion dollar marketing machine which repeatedly proclaims that pleasure equals meaning, the love of money equals eventual fulfillment, and violence does not reap a whirlwind of catastrophic consequences?
I pray, asking God for wisdom and discernment.
To continue down this counterintuitive path.
Into the margins. Not as a passerby, but as a resident. Brokenness offers a different perspective. A willingness to ditch the American dream to pursue Jesus in the margins, inviting others to join me for the journey. So, off I go. The neighbor youth await. But my prayers for them do not.