This post is a contribution to the April Synchroblog: DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK? As Christians we say we believe in the resurrection but sometimes it seems like we are living under a rock instead of living a resurrected life.
A list of all the contributions to this month’s synchroblog will be listed at the end of this post as the links become available.
The first thing I want to say is that the title of my post comes directly from a talk that my friend Hugh Hollowell gave at Campbell University’s chapel service to kick off Poverty Awareness week. Hugh is the founder of Love Wins Ministries, where he pastors a congregation of people who happen to be homeless. Hugh rocks! … but he definitely doesn’t live under one.
“I run an organization in Raleigh called Love Wins Ministries, where we pastor and work with chronically homeless people. These are not the people in line at the soup kitchen or in the shelters. These are the poorest of the poor – folks who live under bridges and sleep in dumpsters. People who smell of urine and mumble to themselves as they walk down the streets. A lot of times, these people do not get better.
I don’t get a lot of success stories. But I do know an awful lot about hardcore urban poverty.
As a result of my work, I speak to a lot of groups like this about our work, and one question always comes up in the Q and A afterward. So today, I am just going to focus on that question: Why are these people poor?
I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus.
Incidentally, if you ever want to get the guy in the seat next to you on the airplane to shut up, answer any of his questions with exactly that sentence:
I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus.”
I thought it was smart and funny – I even laughed out loud and so, well … who can resist using a smart and funny line on their blog?! Plus I always love a reason to bring attention to the work that Hugh does!
Now, back to the question at hand: “Do You Live Under A Rock?”
I will answer that question in a minute, but first, I want to talk about Jesus :>)
In Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead:
Some time later, Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went along with him. He approached the town gate. Just then, a dead person was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother. She was a widow. A large crowd from the town was with her.When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. So he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin. Those carrying it stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”The dead man sat up and began to talk. Then Jesus gave him back to his mother.The people were all filled with wonder and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread all through Judea and the whole country. Luke 7:11-17
Megan McKenna, internationally known author, theologian, storyteller and lecturer, was teaching about this passage in a parish mission when someone yelled out, “’Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?” She responded with, “Yes! Every time I bring hope into a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice — yes — I bring people back from the dead.”
Now that is RESURRECTION!
As I ponder the question “Do You (I) Live Under A Rock” I am forced to face the fact that a lot of times it’s as if I am living under a rock.
When I am so worried about the future that I am not present in the moment, when I lack the hospitality to graciously engage those who I disagree with, when I neglect to help the poor or stand up for the oppressed or speak for those with no voice, when I talk more than I listen, when I take my own privilege for granted and for ordinary, when I support systems that are unjust – every time I do these things it is as if I am living under a rock.
On the other hand, when I stand up for justice and equality, when I am present in the here and now enough to experience awe when a baby cries or a bird sings, when I care enough to get to know those I serve, when I give up a convenience in order to care for the environment, when I remember to use my privilege for the sake of others, when I look for and see the beauty and potential of everyone I meet, when I am gentle, kind, patient, forgiving, compassionate, loving – every time I do these things it is as if I have climbed out from under the rock – not just to experience resurrection but to be and practice resurrection!
I love the Wendell Berry poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front … and so I will leave you with a few of my favorite lines from it.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it…
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Check out the other great posts for this month’s synchroblog:
Phil Wyman at Square No More – Apocalyptic fervor spurs benevolent giving
Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms – Getting Out From Behind The Rock
Alan Knox at the assembling of the church – Living The Resurrected Life
Mike Victorino at Simply A Night Owl – Crawling Out From Under A Rock
John Paul Todd at E4Unity - Still Asleep In the Light
Patrick Oden at Ravens – A Resurrection
Brambonius at Brambonius’ blog in english - hiding the Resurrection life like a candle under a bucket?
George Elerick at The Love Revolution – (for)getting the resurrection
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus
Jeff Goins at Jeff Goins Writer – Resurrection
Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved – Rock and a Hard Place
Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – little miracles
Christen Hansel at Greener Grass – Resurrection Rhythm
Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity - Living The Resurrection
Steve Hayes at Khanya - Descent into Hell and penal substitution
Bill Sahlman at Creative Reflections – Do We Live Under a Rock of Belief?