I rarely use multiple pieces of punctuation. It's just not proper, and it usually bothers me. I've typically laughed when people use more than one question mark to emphasize how significant a question is or when more than one exclamation point is used to show how excited they are. However, THIS!!! deserves it... to me.
This past Sunday was fantastic. We wrapped up our #More series and gave away a couple hundred t-shirts for people to start wearing to promote the launch of our second worship experience beginning September 13. It was great!
Energetic? Yes! Excited? For sure! I've heard many great stories from the past Sunday, but my favorite story was one I just had to share...
We're located in the city. If you're not from the area, you may not know that. We've got all kinds of folks that come to our church. People that own companies and people without jobs. Young and old. Different ethnicities, likes and dislikes... we're all here. We're here because that's what our city looks like, and we just believe that amazing things can happen when we come together rather than stay a part.
One of our partners in the city serves the men at the Opportunity Center in Memphis regularly. This is a place for men who are coming out of homelessness by giving them consistency with their food, water and shelter as their life gets back in order. Many of the men there don't have reliable transportation except for the feet God gave them, so they walk or take the bus.
One thing I love about our location is we have a bus stop right in front of our facility. Literally, our sign on Poplar Avenue is next to a bus stop. This Sunday, through the invitation of one of the people serving at the Opportunity Center, a gentleman came to BELIEVING. He rode the bus. He got here early because that's when the bus got him here. He stayed for the whole experience and loved it. Afterwards, he went and got a yellow t-shirt that we were giving out, put it on, and went to the bus stop to wait for his ride back to the Opportunity Center.
Someone who was leaving BELIEVING in a car [and a yellow t-shirt] saw this gentleman waiting on the bus at the bus stop. So they stopped, asked him where he was going, and gave him a ride home.
Did they go to lunch? I dunno. Did they become best friends? Not sure. Is there anything wrong with taking the bus? Not at all. What struck me was that in a city that is more divided by its classism than its racism someone took the time and the energy to be a neighbor to... well... their neighbor. Was it on the guy who gave him a ride's way? I have no idea. What I do know is that Jesus encouraged us to "love our neighbor as we would love ourselves" and, to me, this looks a lot like that.
So, whomever you are who gave the ride... thank you for tangibly demonstrating the love of Jesus. Whomever you were that received the ride... thank you for being at BELIEVING Sunday and I hope you're here this Sunday. Thank you both for giving us a glimpse of what can happen when we come together.
BELIEVING. It's a place for everyone. A place for anyone. A place you should COME AND SEE.