Cardboard boxes, shoeboxes to be specific, unveil miracles. My friend, Lilian, was carrying some of those boxes in the trunk of an old Venezuelan taxi. She smiled as she looked back through the rear window. Through the dust, she could see another taxi carrying her friends, and like her, carrying more boxes for an organization called Operation Christmas Child.
There will be those among our church family in the coming weeks contemplating the frightening step of opening up to someone about their burden. Most of us don’t have degrees in counseling, and when friends come to us with a serious struggle, it can be paralyzing—we don’t quite know what to say and we can be afraid of saying the wrong thing.
When I first heard we were going ‘undercover’ with the Exodus Road I had visions of grandeur. I saw myself as Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis, wearing a ‘Murica’ t-shirt and kicking some serious butt. But instead of being a hero, I just sat with them like Jesus would and shared communion with prostitutes and pimps.
My tolerance for seeing another tragedy responded to by “sending thoughts and prayers” or posting a hashtag is at an end. I don’t want to be this man of resignation. I want to be a courier of hope. A trumpeter of God’s hard work to restore all things and move us towards the forever table of peace.
Every day is different, but every day there is a table and there is Jesus. And there has been this beautiful image of Him sitting at my table reclined with a good drink in hand and without an agenda. He laughs more than worries and He is relaxed. I’m reminded that the table is not for lists or problem solving. The table is for receiving his company and His acceptance.
My soul has been on a journey. From knowing God as Creator to loving Yeshua as dear brother and friend, to experiencing the love of my loving Father. He has shown me that He, as my kind and loving Father, walks in those dark places with me.
For the past couple months, Thomas has been walking us through all the times when Jesus met people at tables and the importance of what he accomplished over food. Although we have been focusing on who we can invite to our table, sometimes instead we might be is invited to their table.
About a week ago, I was sitting in a brothel in Southeast Asia with a young girl. She was shivering with cold. And I put my arm round her hoping it would make her a little warmer. And hoping that maybe she would experience a moment of comforting touch that seeks to give life in her world of the constant groping touch of men who seek to take something from her.
I have never been to jail before. I have never been arrested before. I have never had a speeding ticket before. And suddenly I found myself being taken to the Criminal Justice Center, exchanging my Ann Taylor clothes and leather ankle boots for scrubs stamped with El Paso County Jail, and locked in a 9×13 cell. Here’s what I learned.
At Pulpit Rock, we value courageous vulnerability. Our hope is that we can offer you a safe place to be you. As you are. We want to be a place where there’s no need to pretend you have it all together. A place where you can heal from your wounds. Vulnerability is scary, and we applaud it. We wanted to share this real story of one man’s journey with you.