Thursday, April 05, 2007

"where two or three are gathered in my name..."

Last night, I had the great privilege of going, with some of our youth guys from church, to a meeting called simply “One”. This is a joint effort from our local youth ministries network. We have begun to, every now and then, get our groups together for an hour of worship through singing, reflection and prayer. No is what it is. With Good Friday coming up, we pondered the cross of Christ together.

Just before that, in the afternoon, I had the great privilege of gathering with a group of ten children at their south Modesto home. There are at least 5 families represented on this small property. This group used to live in the Shiva motel...that’s where we got to know them. They finally found a house but it is still not the greatest situation. Addiction, need, substandard conditions mixed with too many people in one house does not make for an easy childhood.

A few months ago, a team came from Canada and helped us clean up the kid’s back yard so that they would have a place other than the small, dirt front yard to play. Yesterday, a lady in our church had given us Easter baskets for these kids with some simple toys in them. The boys got baseball bats so we all headed to the back yard for the most fun and most chaotic and probably the most “ignoring of the rules” baseball game I’ve ever been a part of.

After the game (the kids won), we sat around in the front yard and read the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection to them. Afterward, we had a prayer together...the kids prayed out their thanks to God. We all put our hands together in the middle of our circle and said “AaaaaaaaaaaaMEN!”

This Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection. I get the privilege of gathering with a Mexican church down in Ensenada this year as I’m leaving to help a youth group on a mission this Saturday. But I feel like I’ve already had my celebration. Some will celebrate Christ’s life in multi-million dollar facilities this week, some will gather in simpler structures, some will huddle in a cave for fear of being discovered, some will be in a house, some will be outside. Some will be decked out in their finest clothes, some will wear the only clothes they have.

But all these meeting will be more or less they same thing...just what we did in the little dirt yard in a slum lord’s house. We will reflect on Christ’s cross and the miracle and hope of his resurrection. We will pray out our thanks to God. We will put our hands and heart’s together to celebrate the life of Christ among us. And I know that God is pleased with our sincere efforts, even childish efforts sometimes, to put words around who he is. I know that God can hear the thanks of ten little kids in a backwards town. Together with all the prayers around the world, before his throne, brilliant with majesty, he hears “AaaaaaaaaaaMEN!”

“From his temple, he heard my voice. My cry came before him into his ears” Ps 18.

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