May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May God bless you
so that you may live from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.
May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.
May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.
( translation by J.R. Woodward )
What if one day the entire body of Christ was struck dumb? What if we couldn't write a word; couldn't speak a word, and we couldn't move our lips to mouth one.
What would be left?
And what would our lives say?
What would they say about who we are and who our God is?
What would they say about what we believe?
If we were to take away the words, how much of the gospel would the world understand? Would we discover the world is illiterate? Or that our lives are illegible?
Would the writings on the pages of our lives, which we always took to be literate, turn out to be the scribblings of a preschooler? Or would the pages simply be blank?
"Preach the gospel," Saint Francis said, "and when necessary, use words." And he said that, I think, because he realized that the most impactful words are those incarnate in our lives. Words that are made flesh and dwell among the world.
I think I may have shared this a while back. I't worth sharing again because it does reflect a lot of what CARTS is. Anyone who has been involved in CARTS for awhile have heard our inner city friends call this " Their Church." Some people may not get it. but, Sunday on the streets is a profound worship experience. It may not be the worship of " Christ " before an altar, but it is the worship of " Christ " in the faces, in the touch of the poor, the hungry and the broken. There is also a sense of community that is deeply profound, and deeply tangible. There is offering, and servant hood. It is where sacred and secular merge into something profoundly divine. CARTS, in the deepest sense is church...something, radical, scandalous...something we incarnate, pull around the streets with a very tangible and visible Jesus in our midst.
It's hard to believe we're coming up to a year on our new route through the inner city of Victoria. We continue to humbly nurture this beautiful ministry...we act in faith, and God continues to faithfully provide. I'm blessed to be part of this inner city community.
And this from Fran Slofstra last evening...
"God does provide faithfully! We made 460 cookies last night! Praise God for volunteers to do so, the kitchen at PCS and the pounds and pounds of ingredients!! Awesome!"
There are so many things that happened behind the scenes that make CARTS happen on a Sunday. Many people we don't see, the faces behind the cookies...the faces, the laughter, the joy, the hands...the ingredients of " love " beyond the sugar, the chocolate chips, flour, smarties.
The love of the volunteers permeates everything CARTS is...it's the fuel the powers, it's what embraces, it's what inspires, it fills, it feeds...it's what makes God visible.
In a sense, Sunday CARTS are a bit of " faith-filled " miracle. We are a small, local, organic and fluid community...with a shoe string budget. Some weeks the shoe string is shorter than others. But, much like the parable of the few loaves and fish we faithfully put it all in the hands of Jesus and he always seems to multiply what little we have.
Thanks...to everyone, seen and unseen...your love is felt every week.