I have discovered, time and time again, that there is a very real wisdom that can be found in community. This was reinforced to me again this week.
My good friend Donnie has a saying I like. He says “give your head a shake!” By this he means to point out that my thinking is askew. I have allowed myself to be deceived and led off by ‘untruth’. One of the main symptoms of deception is that you don’t know it! We need the help of community to encourage us to “Give our head a shake.”
I had the opportunity, last Saturday, to speak at Stone Church’s Neighbourhood Celebration. The pastor said grace and the lineup for food quickly formed. People were jostling for position and condiments and I was introduced to speak. It seemed that no one was listening and I got flustered and lost my line of concentration. Soon my carefully prepared presentation was floundering. Eventually and mercifully it wound down and I stepped away from the mic. I felt more deflated than a New England football. I was really discouraged and generally “bummed out.”
Shortly after I ‘slunk’ home my phone rang. It was Donnie. He was calling to tell me that he had been listening and to encourage me. He reminded me that we have talked a lot lately about Ezekiel stepping out and speaking to the ‘dry bones’. Donnie reminded me that this was at the heart of who we are as Street Hope. He invited me to envision how Ezekiel might have felt speaking to a valley of bones. He encouraged me to see that I had shared a like moment with our hero. I gave my head a shake and repented of my fleshly sulk.
Later in the week I had the honour of addressing another group at that same church. We were there for the purpose of studying Psalm 93. I had prepared, as before, and the people were attentive. We read about the ‘almighty-ness and sovereignty’ of God. We saw how an examination of this facet of God’s character ought to change our prayer lives and our ‘kingdom’ activities. God is bigger than our circumstances and the chaos of this world.
I may see dry bones with my fleshly eyes but I am called to fix my spiritual eyes on the God who dwarfs my challenges. God asks “Can these dry bones live?” and longs for us to answer “You know God!”
I’m grateful to have people in my day to day life that can challenge me to live in faith, when I am living otherwise. People who call me to “give your head a shake!”
On another note we are starting to think about our Christmas Breakfast program. A couple of years ago we gave out more than 100 electric blankets. Last year we gave backpacks filled with all sorts of necessities and treats. We have spent a lot of time thinking about what we should do this year. A huge part of our thinking at Street Hope is to become a community of service. Too often we have fallen into a kind of ‘recipient’ mentality, receiving food at food banks, meals at community suppers etc. We want to become a community that gives! With this in mind we are thinking that this year we hand out cards informing our breakfast guests that a donation is being made in their name. We have not yet decided on just what that donation might go to but in a meeting with a friend who works with refugees I was challenged to consider that as a project. With today’s sad news about refugees this seems like a good cause. Our community can recognize that even the poorest among us are still in the top percentage of wealthy people in the world.