Grow Deep - Strange Places Edition
STRANGE PLACES EDITION
“Surely the Lord is in this place.” Genesis 28:16
Recently I was on a mission to get through a long list of errands in a limited amount of time. Midway through my mission, I determined I had just enough extra time to stop at a store to pick up a soft drink. My plan was to run in and out quickly, get my drink, and then get on to the next place before I had to be at work. As I pulled into a strip shopping mall and scanned the lot for the most convenient spot to park, I caught a glimpse of someone sitting on the parking lot curb. His face was weathered and his long, gray hair and beard were somewhat unkempt. His fingers and hands were rough, and there was a large, noticeable sore on the back of one of his hands. His appearance spoke of a life lived hard.
Often (I am ashamed to admit) I walk past people like this man, especially when I am on a “race against the clock mission” as I was that morning. But there were a couple of things that were different that day. One, I obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to stop and talk with the man. And two, when I got closer to him, I saw that he was flipping through a small Bible he had on his lap. I sat down next to him on the curb. I learned his name. I asked him some questions about his life’s circumstances and listened as he shared his story. I asked him about his relationship with Jesus. We spoke together about Jesus and some things in the Gospel of John. I prayed with that man and was able to provide some physical help that he needed.
It was a strange place--the curb in that parking lot—but Jesus was clearly there!
When Jesus was on earth He had a mission that took Him to strange places. He was the King of the World, but He was born in a stable and slept in a feeding trough for animals. He was the Savior of the World, but He was stripped, beaten and crucified as a criminal on a rugged wooden cross! He gave up His seat at the right hand of God to come to earth as a man … the son of a common carpenter. He forfeited the glories of heaven to walk with sinners, the sick, the outcast, and those in need along the dusty roads He traveled. He entered into the battered, bruised lives of people then and He enters in now. He brings His love, mercy and grace every moment of every day. He is there in our victories, and He is there in our sufferings. He is there on Sundays in our churches, and He is there in the every-other-day ordinary places of life where He has called us. He clothes us in His own righteousness and puts us on His mission to be righteous before our neighbors.
Join us for this Reformation issue of Grow Deep. Together, we will experience more fully what it means to live out our faith in our vocations every day and to share the righteousness of Christ imputed to us through faith in service to our neighbors.
Join us as we Grow Deep this Reformation!
The Adult Ministry Team
Thank you to Rev. Wayne Knolhoff (Week 1) and Seminarian Eric Gradberg (Week 2) for sharing their insights in this issue of Grow Deep.