We all made it back from Mississippi safely last night and most of us made it to church this morning to tell of what we had seen and done and experienced. The week was full of good things. Even though I was there, I found the refelctions of the young people full of surprises. Their capacity to make meaning out of the world around them feeds my faith. The church was full (an unusual experience for a summer service in New England) because, after three years of trips, our people know the reflection service is not one to miss.
During the week, we used a song as our theme that was the first song Billy Crockett and I ever wrote together, now over twenty years ago.
here’s another picture of life
all of us together with Christ
it’s an open heart
it’s a work of art
it’s the basic stuff
that makes another picture of love
I came away from the week reminded again that incarnation is the cornerstone word of our faith: God with skin on. I saw one picture after another of love incarnated in the actions of our young people and adults, as well as in the way we were received by the people of Mississippi.
One afternoon we took a prayer walk through the neighborhood around the church. I was walking at the back of the twenty-five white kids and adults as they strolled down the street and at least twenty-five black kids came running out of their houses to greet them because they knew them from Vacation Bible School. As I watched, I realized that in my life time a group of white people that large walking in an African-American neighborhood would have been coming to kill somebody. Because of the love incarnated everyday by the people of Calvary Baptist Church in their faithful determination to minister to their neighborhood and because of the willingness of our young people to walk in heat they were not used to in order to learn more about the kids they saw each day, those little children came running without fear.
That’s the basic stuff that makes another picture of love.
Welcome back, Milton.
We heard similar stories on the beach at yesterday’s NCC service.
The story of the group walking down the street in the prayer walk struck me, both yesterday and now in reading this – it didn’t seem strange to me that you all would be out walking the neighborhood; it seemed strange that 25-30 years ago, the intent would be entirely different.
We’ve come a long way with a long way to go.
My daugter’s youth group had a similar experience yesterday working at the home of an older couple in our parish who have fallen on hard times. These opportunities to minister are all around us and present everyday. I am sure that your experiences, as ours, have changed the lives of everyone involved.
Saw a prayer walk happening in N’Awlins, right on Canal St., around 11 pm one night as I walked back to my hotel, alone, after a couple too many hurricanes. They were truly an answer to my prayer…!
Kidding aside — thanks for the latest picture of love.