A few months ago, a global organization issued an invitation to our church for a local pastor’s breakfast. With some of the turnover recently, lack of availability in pastoral staff, and in the efforts of establishing connections, I attended as our representation. When I showed up this morning,
(I was maybe a little pleased) there wasn’t a huge turnout (although it’s easier to disappear in a big crowd). After internally freaking out the entire 40-minute commute, this extroverted-introvert was reminded once again that while new social (or any) situations can be awkward, I actually always make it out in one piece without any (horrible) embarrassment.
The main premise of the presentation was thinking beyond the church pew and church building and realising the opportunities to show and share God’s extraordinary moments in the places and with the people in our daily life that we see and/or interact with regularly. Someone might not ever enter a church building, but to them, YOU are the church. It was about overcoming our own personal hangups and seeing that just establishing relationships and living out your faith with honesty and passion is the best way to reach those who are hurting, seeking, or in need of love (and aren’t we all in need of unconditional, boundless love?)
So… while of course, this applies to me from a Christianity-point of view, I also believe that it can apply to humankind in general. How do you connect with people? You interact with them where they are in a very personal and transparent way. A stranger probably isn’t going to join me for lunch in my home, but maybe I can share a table at Tim Horton’s and just strike up a conversation.
What does love, kindness, and building a better world look like to you? Maybe it’s bringing a latte to the secretary at the kid’s school. Maybe it’s making sure you have some extra change or small denomination gift cards on hand before you walk downtown. Perhaps seeing the opportunities means slowing down just a little bit while you go about your routine.
Maybe foundations are built by finding the thread of commonality and recognizing familiarity (that guy who sits in the corner of McD’s every time you pop in… that mom at the park the same time as you… the neighbour you pass when you’re both out walking your dogs…) It’s making time in our routine to think beyond our isolated, insular existences – maybe it’s actually getting to know the parent who sits beside you at hockey practice in more than a “hey-how’s-it-goin?” kind of way, maybe it’s legitimately asking the waitress at your regular lunch spot about her life, maybe it’s sitting with some seniors at your local care facility listening to their stories. Maybe it’s asking or answering hard questions. Maybe it’s being honest and accessible and authentic.
Maybe making a difference is stepping out in an awkward way that will impact someone else’s day. Sharing extraordinary love is looking for opportunities to be a light in our ordinary days. It’s so true that change begins with us and how we view the world – every person you encounter is a person you can reach. Leave your mark in a positive way – share love, share light, and share faith.