I’m reminded not only of the brilliance of Martin King but also of his passionate Christ-like action, his persistent ever-increasing grit and his unbridled hope that provided fuel for a tumultuous journey. His poise in the face of great criticism on Meet the Press in 1960 when he was younger than I am now, wrecks me. His famous, “Dream” speech in 1963 and the prophetic “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech in 1968 brings me to tears every time. In his final words before the crowd in the latter speech he proclaimed,
Like anybody I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now, I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with ya, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!
God given dreams are hard to suppress. They eek out of our hearts, our mouths and our lives. They remain, like a silhouette in the distance, when the tides of a complex cultural reality, demeaning mockery and ridicule wage war against them. They remain. Somewhere in the dreamers subconscious, hidden underneath the nostalgia and excitement of the dream, is the very real knowledge, that dreams cost us.
I love the one liner about Joseph in Genesis. It simply says, “One night Joseph had a dream…(37:5).” And that, my friends, was the beginning of an incredibly joyous and oftentimes painful journey!
What is your God given dream that won’t be silenced? How can you step more fully into it this Lenten season?
Both are buzzwords in Christian culture, but what does it look like in practice?
In practice, Missional Community, looks a lot like being a unique part of a great big healthy but quirky extended family. And this family is moving. They have purpose and passion for living and illuminating with their own lives, the unfolding story of God. An authentic Missional Community tells this story best collectively, to provide a symphony of differing but unified hopeful notes in a world of hopeless clanging cymbals. This family, at its best, doesn't coerce others into adopting and embodying this story, but they gently and lovingly portray the truth and wisdom of the Christian story in the rhythms of their everyday life.
They believe redemption is possible. They pray for God to restore. They join God in restoring.
When we lean into this Missional Community we find belonging and purpose. We become representatives and spokespeople with our lives to tell an alternate story: (i.e. the one about turning the other cheek, standing up against injustice, forgiving, loving, taking sin seriously, tearing down needless boundaries, and praying for those who persecute us). We find a place that we can live more fully into the person God created us to be. The family of God, at its best, challenges us, nurtures us, encourages us and helps us to come fully alive.
Then in our collective journey, as a family, we invite and include people who are either outright or somewhat skeptical about the possibility of this alternative way. We share our lives with people who are suspicious, so that they might: 1) belong and find acceptance in a healthy family 2) so that they might believe in the story God has been telling since the creation of the world - the story that redemption is possible and finally 3) so that they might add their personal note to the symphony of creation which proclaims the goodness and power of God, through Christ.
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Name: Jesse Smith Address: 3340 Balsam Tree Drive, Charlotte, NC 28269