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Caught In The Rain

July 9, 2015

Remember that last time that you were in the West Village, down below Astor Place, close to West Broadway, making your way to a place called “Big Gay Ice Cream” because that’s the best place in the village to get a caramel and chocolate infused ice cream cone…and it started pouring down rain?  Now I’m not talking about a drizzle…not just a few big drops on the sidewalk…but a colossal, torrential, downpour?  Yeah I know…that probably isn’t a regular occurrence for most of you either.  But that’s where we found ourselves tonight…and let me just say…it was great.

You see…each year when we come up to Sunnyside to work with Grace Fellowship Church (Queens Presbyterian Church), we hit a variety of places around Manhattan during the evening hours.  We see Broadway and Times Square…mostly because they’re unavoidable.  We eat dinner with the young professionals of the Upper West Side at the chaotic but incredibly efficient Whole Foods at Columbus Circle.  And we take a trip down Washington Square to walk the pathways of retail with the good folk (they don’t say “folk”) just above Houston Street.  And the truth is that each of these times are far more valuable…far more meaningful…and far more enjoyable to a South Carolina boy than you might think.
Humility demands that at some point we admit just how lost we are a lot of the time.  But unity of spirit demands that we confess that being lost every once in a while…doesn’t really matter, because when we get lost…we get lost as a team.  And not knowing what you’re doing, or where you’re going, just isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The reality is that this must have been how many of the followers of Jesus Christ felt in the early years of the Church.  A lot of confusion…a lot of uncertainty…but a very unique camaraderie that issues forth from the experience of traveling, striving, struggling, talking, challenging, sharpening…often failing, but always pulling for one another…and hoping in Christ who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.

So tonight as we ran through the puddled sidewalks of the campus of NYU, right past the campus bookstore, catching moments of precipitation relief under the scattered awnings of Waverly Place, and navigating our way down into the Astor Place subway terminal…there were no complaints, no bad attitudes.  There were a lot of laughs, a lot of smiles…a lot of wet feet and a lot of soaked shoulders…but an understanding that those little inconveniences are simply that…little inconveniences.  And I think…I think what I saw…was genuine love.

You know…genuine love always requires a certain measure of dying.  Dying to self, dying to desire, dying to comfort…dying to personal preferences…dying to control…dying to my rights. Nobody stepped off the train this evening hoping to be soaking wet with a forty-minute commute in front of them…but that’s what we received.  And I’m thankful for it.  Not just because it got us back to the LaQuinta a little earlier…but because it proved what I have been suspecting.  These people love one another.  They love recklessly…prodigiously…without regard for themselves.  They’ve demonstrated it each day this week during CityCamp.  And it was on full display tonight on the streets of The Empire City…just as it is on display in my room right at this moment…where guys are sitting on the floor, jus sharing life together.

It’s been a real privilege of my life to get to serve with this team from St. Andrews this week.  Having my wife and oldest child here has just made it all so much sweeter.  And the example my ten year old has received is absolutely priceless.  So I’m writing this in a state of gratitude tonight…not just for these people…but for the God who brought a team together.  My prayer for each of you is that you get to experience the joy that I’m feeling at this moment…a Joy rooted in Christ…purchased by the cross…and guaranteed by His resurrection.  

Today is a good day.  Check that…today is a great day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary L Hall permalink
    July 10, 2015 12:37 pm

    Beautiful word picture of Jesus’ love! So happy you had that joyful experience. I’ve been praying for you all and it’s sweet to hear what’s happening! Travel mercies & love! Mary Leslie

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