For Unto You A Child is Born, and a Community of Faith

 

For Unto You A Child is Born, and a Community of Faith

God has blessed me with the amazing honor of seeing signs and wonders in this world.  The Holy Spirit has allowed me to see heaven come to earth just a handful of times in my life.  But I have seen it, and I don’t have the words to express the awe that I feel in my heart at having seen God’s own heart be born on the streets and in the alleyways of this city.  Last Saturday, I had such an opportunity.  I saw a third-generation street mission that began with a handful of people and handful of dollars move from being a street mission to be being a community of faith.  Rachel, and Kylie, and Jack (not one of them older than 20) had poured their hearts out in prayer for this mission.  Then they sought out the person on the ground that would help them plant this mission. The Holy Spirit revealed that person in the person of Harold, a man who had been homeless and drunk on these streets for years but had been absorbed by the Kingdom of God only months before.  Each invited others…and they wrapped their bodies around the Holy Spirit…and they ventured way out beyond the edges of their comfort…risked their lives to plant this mission.  And so it began…as it has begun so many times before. I knew this was moving from mission to community because of what I heard from the mouths of people who were once the object of the mission and who had become the subject of it.

A giant of a man who goes by the name of “Country” said as we reflected on the ministry of the day, “You all are my family.” And a man named Phil said, “I came here thinking I’d get a hotdog, but I realized I was part of something today much bigger than that.”  Yami and April who were once the objects of just such a mission were praying with “Dallas”, a man who had come with all his possessions in trash bags and yet whose face shown with the glory of the Lord. And Dallas, then, began to witness to the work that the Kingdom was doing in his life. “Bull” was pouring out prayers…having once been the object of just such a mission and having had prayers poured out on him. Roosevelt, who probably doesn’t even know what drew him to this gathering was hanging out and having a great time and enjoying the place of sanctuary.  People who had lost hope found hope there that day. People who were just walking by found themselves pulled aside to see this sight and were forever changed by it. The Grace of God was falling like a rainstorm all around us…or as we say in our community, like a “ReignStorm”.

There was peace in our midst on these angry and deadly streets…not just in our midst…there was peace in our bones.  These disciples of Christ who were discipled by disciples at work on the streets here made disciples by simply inviting them into the Kingdom of God that they were living out in their midst. I could see the edges of a manger here in the slums of Galilee…the slums and shelters and projects here on the wrong side of the tracks on the Northside of Milwaukee. It was as if an angel of the Lord had somehow come into our midst to declare what the Christ has always declared:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  These were no longer strangers.  They were partners.  They were the brothers and sisters of Christ…indeed, they were the body of Christ alive on the concrete patio of the King Center among the trash and empty malt liquor cans and gang grafitti.

I don’t know what God is going to do with this little community of faith born around the manger…around the Weber grill…around the broken and yet resurrected heart of Christ.  But I know this: the whole Gospel was revealed to me, and to many, in the breaking of bread (hot dogs and chips) and the passing of Dixie cups…the whole of the Good News was poured out upon everyone who witnessed this birth. The infant body of Christ wrapped in rags and tatters and filthy coats…swaddling clothes…was born that day.  Or, more correctly, it was…born again that day…from above.

As we enter into the Christmas season, let us ponder these things in our hearts: “While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Witnessing this miracle of God is greater than any blessing that could ever be found in a box under even the grandest of Christmas trees.  THIS, indeed, is Christmas come to life…again and again…mission to new mission…generation to generation to generation.

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4 Comments »

  1. Bill Habicht Said:

    Thank you for the beautiful reflection.

  2. Rachel Said:

    Makes me cry every time!! I still can’t believe how the Lord has and is working! It is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed… to see Jesus in their faces and hope in their eyes!

  3. […] read about it in the article below or better yet, visit the site in which it was originally posted Further Out Nearer To. […]


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