I was reminded this week that the word humility derives from the word for earth or dirt ‘humus’. Perhaps it is in humility that we best reflect our roots “from dust you came and to dust you will return”. A contemporary song, I have come to love, tells me “God makes beautiful things from the dust … God makes beautiful things out of us”. It is good to remember my roots and to glorify the God who is working in us, creating beauty.
It is not in lofty places or sacred spaces that I experience the wondrous beauty making of God but when I am ‘getting my hands dirty’ in the hub and bub of service with my friends of Street Hope. It is befriending the guy who is struggling with addiction, it is in listening to the lonely cry of the estranged daughter, it is in offering a hot turkey plate to a cold and hungry ‘inner city saint’, that I am getting my hands ‘dirty’. It is then that I sit in the dust with my friends and in the dark and gloom I pray the glimmer of light shines through. Humility is not about doing ‘great things’ instead it is about doing all the little things in as great a way as possible, knowing that it is God who makes beauty out of ashes.
In the song “Come Alive”, which has become our theme, Lauren Daigle sings “Up out of these ashes let us see an army rise!” I like to preach! Give me an opportunity and I will orate! But I would never speak to a gathering of head stones. Folks there are all dead! It is God alone who can bring life. He alone can bring flesh and sinew to dry bones. In humility though we may step into the ‘valley’ unafraid to cry out with our lives and with our voices “Come alive”. This work of humility can only be done in the dusty and dirty valley of dry bones.
I struggle sometimes with our limited resources and the limited scope of our influence but I know that 21 centuries ago in the humblest of beginnings, the movement that changed things for all time and all eternity was launched in great humility.
A few of us are studying the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We are training to help others find their way back to God. We have a plan to issue a 30 day challenge, asking people to simply pray every day for 30 days “God if you are real please make yourself real to me today”, along with the prayer we will ask people to look for signs of God through the day. During that month long challenge we will offer an Alpha like meal followed by a short video “Finding Your Way Back to God”. There are 5 of these videos so we can fit them in our 30 day challenge. We are still in the training process. We plan to have a core of us who have really “got it” before we dare others.
This project excites us and stretches us well beyond our limited resources but we sense that it is time for us to “step into the valley unafraid” well if not “unafraid” at least trusting in the God who makes beautiful things out of dust … beautiful things out of us.