A Pastoral Word
Midway Christian's theme for Lent will be "Finding God in Unexpected Places." I can't take credit for this title. It comes from a book by Philip Yancey, if you are interested. But the title got me thinking about our Lenten Journey. We start out on a forty-day journey each year, looking for God in the desert and on mountain tops and end up finding God on the cross, crucified as a common criminal, and each year, we are surprised by our discoveries. Why is that? Why are we so surprised that our God meets us in unexpected ways and in unexpected places?
All we have to do is remember our story as the people of God to know that from the very beginning, God has always shown up in unexpected places - like burning bushes and fields of dry bones, and that God has used even the most unexpected people - like the woman at the well, to show us that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. From the very beginning of our story, God has always done the unexpected to show us that God is still working in our world.
So this got me to thinking - where is God showing up today in our world? Where are the unexpected places that we find Christ today? At our last Elders' and Deacons' meeting, we did a small discussion about this and it has stuck with me that for the most part, many of us thought that if Jesus was around today, we would not find him in our churches but out in the community with the poor, with the downtrodden, with those who are lost and lonely. We even said that Jesus would probably be turned off by our churches and our rules and regulations, in a sense our "busy-ness of the church."
So my question, and the question that will guide our Lenten journey together as Midway Christian Church, is: where do we find God in our world today? Maybe you found God on mission trips. Maybe you found God in a coffee shop while having a conversation. Maybe you found God at Kroger. Maybe you found God in the new tutoring program. Maybe you found God at the dinner table at one of our community dinners. Maybe you found God at the airport while trying to catch a flight.
I invite all of us to open our eyes as we begin our Lenten journey and discover the many ways God comes to us in unexpected ways, even through palm branches and empty tombs.