What a wonderful weekend I had! I got to help and serve others most of the weekend! I feel the allergies trying to come on but otherwise I am energized!
The Lord is showing me so much about seeing with His eyes. He sees people totally different than we do. He sees their potential and He sees why they do what they do. He sees their pain and their joy. He sees everything we see and more! He is not afraid of the ugly, the unkept or the “bad” parts of people. Why should we be afraid? I am learning that people are people, no matter where they have come from, where they are going or what they have been through. All people want to be valued and respected as individuals and human beings. All people want to feel loved and accepted. All people want to feel that they matter and that they can be heard. We are not all so different.
Jesus not only saw people, He heard them, valued them and respected them. He met both their physical and spiritual needs. He valued them and met them where they were in life, not where he thought they should be. I had the opportunity this weekend to see this in action at Church Under the Bridge in Oklahoma City. This is a wonderful ministry started by a formed nurse to the homeless, recovering addicts and anyone who is just going through a hard time. No matter society’s labels (that hurt more than help), Jesus came to church on Sunday under the bridge and he loved all the people there through others, in worship, and in baptism. One man came in his Sunday best and worshiped the Lord without caring about what anyone else thought. People brought their cute dogs too who enjoyed the extra attention and love. Jesus loves hip hop and so do I! Some local artists got the place jumping with hip hop worship! I saw the Lord working through that music to minister to many people there that day. I got to see two of my new friends and my friend’s son baptized as well as another friend I knew years ago. Many were baptized into new life on Sunday! God is so good! He will meet you right where you are! He met my new friends where they were and He loves them as much as He loves me!
American church, we have gotten it wrong for so long! The goal is not to get them “cleaned up and pristine” before they come into our walls. Are we afraid of the things we don’t understand or don’t want to see? I, for one, am not because my Jesus has already overcome all that for them and for me. Do they really have to look like us? No!! Was Jesus afraid of different people or people not like him? No!! The goal and purpose should be to go to them, where they are, love them, accept them, and let Jesus meet them. He can determine for them where they go and what they do – that is not our role. If they never come inside our pristine, suburban walls it is of no consequence. Those pristine suburban walls and buildings aren’t the church – the people I saw under that bridge are the church; every color, creed and walk of life! I am so thankful to have met my new friends at Church Under the Bridge and through Crystal and the Exit(L)ed ministry. I would not have it any other way because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ too! I love you all and I will be returning to Church Under the Bridge to love and support my new friends and make other new friends too! With much love, Elizabeth