I don’t know where this posture was introduced to us, but it was in this season that Lucas began to audibly articulate the ways that we were called to walk into each situation in our lives – church, family and all the others. He called it sitting on YES. This means that when presented with a challenge or opportunity, we begin the discussion with an attitude of how CAN we, rather than the list of reasons why we cannot. This approach is in direct contradiction to my wiring. If you ask me to do something, my immediate answer is always filtered through the lens of the cost rather the opportunities for the possible gift.
This is the first of many reasons that we are better together. I would sit around and make sarcastic quips about all the negative things and he would live boundary-less with great intentions but no time to enjoy life. But together, we are often found to be an overbooked, loving people machine of doing all the things. Most of the time this is great. Sometimes, we have to lock ourselves on a cruise ship to force ourselves to say no. But I digress…
As At The Water’s Edge began to reach in and up and around in our world, we saw new opportunities for action. I can remember countless nights that we spent rocking babies, giving bottles and dreaming of the next way we could respond to a physical, emotional or spiritual need that we had discovered. There was nothing that had the heart of our community like children. Whether it be through providing diapers or school supplies or food, we were committed to saying YES with more than just our money. Sure, we could buy some crayons and markers, but we challenged each other to be the face of the backpacks and diapers, as we looked our neighbors in the eyes. We refused to be content with tipping out hat at community service. At the heart of this church was a central call to not just “help” the neighbor but the love, and learn from, and care for and BE neighbors.
And this gets really messy. Because when you begin to look people in the eyes and listen to their stories, everything changes. When you are sitting with those that are marginalized by society, by people like me, you hear a new story. You hear the stories not as statistics or needs or even causes, but rather as Mike and Ann and Angel. Rather than news topics, the things that are tearing apart the fabric of our communities are happening in the lives of those you know. The opioid epidemic is not something that you see on 20/20, but something that you are watching your friend die from. The struggle to pay the light bill is not an annoyance, but the reality of families that live on wages that are determined by the sun or the rain or the fact that there is no gas in the car to get to a job. Coming to face the reality that children are wearing the same diaper all day because when the choice is food or Pampers, we eat, the the hardest of the hard. Once we saw these things, we could not look back.
Sure some would like to think this was because we were some liberal over the top socialwork-ey types. But I can assure you that most of us were far from it. Instead, what happened is that we discovered the world of following Jesus has no political agenda and instead has one agenda, to love. And there are days where that feels really squishy. But I think the opposite was true. Because when the reasons for ‘NO’ continued to disappear and the call to be the hope of the world came into focus, there was nothing warm and fluffy about it. This mission to change the world so that others would know the hope of Resurrection changed us. We went from meetings and budgets and all the hold outs to a beginning place that said if we have it, it is your. Our YES’s took over. And so did our excitement for the Church again.