Jesus calls us outside of our comfort zones—especially those of us who are used to being comfortable. Earlier this month, our youth group did exactly that, when we joined Common Cathedral for worship on Boston Common.
We went there because there is a congregation of people—most of them people experiencing homelessness—who worship outside because that is where they live, and that is where they find God. It was uncomfortable for us—it was seriously cold outside, and we were guests and visitors among so many people we didn’t know.
It was uncomfortable, and it was also beautiful. We gathered in a circle with a few dozen folks, some of us who live in houses, and some of us who don’t, and we knew that we were all God’s children. We sang and we heard scripture read by members of the congregation, just like in our church; but there were tourists and travelers and downtown shoppers walking past our worship, which doesn’t happen at Allin. It was beautiful because as we worshiped and prayed and sang, we remembered that we all belong to each other—that God’s body is vast and that there are believers who are very different from us. We remembered that God’s love reaches out into the streets and the city parks, and that God’s image is embodied in our homeless siblings just as it is in us. Although we brought sandwiches and snacks to share at their coffee hour, we remembered that these men and women experiencing homelessness had gifts to offer us too: they offered us hospitality, and hope, and spirited worship.
My prayer for our church, Allin Church, is that we continue to get out of our comfort zones to meet our neighbors. I believe that this will transform our faith. I believe this will transform our church. I believe we have gifts to offer our neighbors, and I believe our neighbors have gifts to offer us.
Church, what can you do, this month, to meet more of your neighbors? What can you do to get out of your comfort zone? What gifts will God have for you as you do that?
With you in God’s love, Lindsay
** Pictures are of Our youth group (with members from Allin Church, Stratford Street United Church, and Grace Community Boston) worshipping with our neighbors at Common Cathedral