Imagine…let that word settle in your heart for a moment. We’re not often encouraged to dream, or to allow ourselves the freedom to ponder what ‘could’ be, rather than what ‘is’. Dreams allow our creativity to be activated – and these life-giving imaginations are often buried beneath the daily grind of family, work and yes, even our faith community.
Here’s what I’m imagining:
- Walking our neighborhoods and communities with the intent to bless people’s lives. Smiling, being involved, hearing burdens and responding, simply being available, watering someone’s lawn in their absence, taking or sharing a meal, responding to teary or downcast eyes with a smile and kind words
- Watching the news to discover there’s a decrease in child abuse/neglect and domestic violence
- Noting a decrease in single parent families, and an increase in fathers and mothers rediscovering one another, and having fun together with their children.
- Communities uniting to make a difference by finding relationship with those around them
What would it be like to merely live life organically? No, I’m not referring to the plethora of organic food items that have flooded our markets, but rather to live life as Jesus would, i.e., taking on his heart for humanity and living accordingly. Organic, or ‘natural’, would flow forth as authentic care and compassion – as opposed to having an agenda, meeting or workshop for an approach that “qualifies”. Spending time with people, sharing your stories over a meal, laughing and crying, and finding relationship to bind hearts – this creates a platform for organic ministry. Simply meeting needs in the course of a relationship demonstrates love, and THAT fulfills our mandate before God to love one another as we would desire to be loved.
Would this perception alleviate our stretched-thin lives? Would this afford us more meaningful living – and relieve our presumed shame for not sharing Jesus with the planet?
And what affect would this have in our communities? Could we actually ‘organically’ positively impact the child abuse/neglect and domestic violence that is so prevalent? If we loved ‘organically’, would those who inflict – or potentially inflict – harm on others, find that love and care make a difference, both for them and those to whom they may cause harm…possibly before they become victims?
My experience has been that as we develop caring relationships where respect, love and information flow naturally, those who are considered high-risk can develop tools for parenting, and tools for relationships, thereby mitigating some of the factors that lead to abuse. Bottom line: A Christ-care model that will serve all well: loving without agenda, simply because it is the right thing to do. Christ loves and cares for the (potential) abuser as much as he cares for the abused.
How do we start the conversation?