I'm downtown at the moment...at a Starbucks in the center of it all...Westlake Center, taking in the lunchtime flow of so many lives intersecting in one relatively small space. I'm taking this opportunity to write before my latest observation of Lent begins tomorrow with the project known as H2O. For the next 10 days the community of faith that I am privileged to lead has committed ourselves to not drink anything besides water and, at the end, dedicate the money saved to give clean water through our partnership with Living Water International. Anyone wishing to join me in this can take the challenge and then donate as well through our clean water site or theirs.
We often, as a common humanity, can get behind something larger than ourselves for the greater good. Unfortunately, it doesn't often happen naturally and we are indebted to those organizations who, by their very nature, have the greater good as their focus. So as we begin this next challenge, I am painfully aware of the irony that a church and a pastor...and churches and pastors....need another organization or individual to remind us of our calling to the greater good of humanity.
I have been so greatly impacted during my graduate work to have heard it stated that in order to be a credible source of proclaiming what we, as people of faith, know as "the good news", we first need to address what is good news to those who we love and are concerned about. Let me put it this way, how much good would it be to know that Jesus loves you as one of the millions suffering and dying without clean water, if no one was able to deliver to you the good news that clean water is being provided for you? We think that they should be contented merely knowing that Jesus loves them as they die, when we have all the resources that are needed to keep them alive.
So I sit here in the midst of humanity shuffling by, mainly disconnected from each other and on their own mission, feeling like I need to get my one last taste of luxury in before beginning my "10 day sacrifice" that I didn't even think of in the first place. It's a sobering thought. How far off course have we drifted? What could happen if, in the midst of the wandering souls here in the downtown rush, a greater good could be communicated to even a fraction of those with the means to be "good news". God knows that there is plenty of need here already in the midst of homelessness and walking mental illnesses. What if we took our headphones off long enough to hear someones story? What if we could do something more than throwing a dollar into an open guitar case to buy a burger or to blow wind into the fading sails of a wanna be rock star? What would good news look like to those who you pass by?