Your Presence Matters

Before we sign up to travel across the ocean (or as we prep to go, or when we return home) – let’s do the hard examination…… all my social circles look like me? Am I an advocate for brothers and sisters, am I seeking to understand and do life with other cultures wherever home is?
For however many mission trips took off in planes this summer – imagine the impact of every one of those lives being actively involved with all KINDS of people in their life.
*the above two paragraphs were a status. Then I just needed a better picture. Thus, blog. You didn’t need to know that detail, but now you do. Anyways….
There are deep, frustrating, disgusting roots in all kinds of social issues. A hashtag or shared story on any timeline will not be the change –
relationships will.
Presence will.
Seeking to understand rather than needing to be understood.
Using your voice in the middle of a conversation to validate the real feelings that your real friends have – the mother of a teenager with dark skin who is wringing her hands if his tail light is having issues, the friend who gets second looks walking through an airport because of an over-generalization that she cringes to be associated with, the co-worker who lets the racism-tinged Spanglish roll off their back because it’s so common.
Debates are not helping and they will not. Honestly they’re usually just people proclaiming their opinion in between pauses of waiting to talk again.
Facebook stances are nice and all, but they are not changing the way people interact in real life.
I am so tired and so hurting for hashtags of names associated with news headlines, and clicking for a closer examination KNOWING that there will be sorrow on the other side.
Our Jesus had a solution for injustice, for the unseen, for the torn down, for those of the other side of racism.
He went to them. Intentionally. (Passing through Samaria…an example we hear about once a month at least where I’m at)
Conversations started where food, water, and hang-outs naturally happen.
Genuine engagement in conversation.
Setting aside the agenda for a hot second for the face in front of us (what? Do we think Jesus didn’t have an agenda to follow – he was all hugs and rainbows? They were traveling somewhere when they stopped at the well – there was a plan and a place to be!).
Jesus was “over people” as He was God in the flesh, but he was NEVER stooping down to love. He was always coming alongside to laugh and enjoy a meal, to do life alongside, to soak up what the day had. Never, ever, ever did someone leave this man – who we can call Friend – and feel that they were a project. And shame on us because we do this. We do! I’m SURE I’ve done it. WHAT A KEY TO LOVING WELL IN THIS WORLD.
Hashtags won’t do it. “Sharing” won’t do it. JUST presence won’t do it.
Genuine, life-sharing, time together, breaking bread friendship……that is what is going to transform these spaces.
Oh, to be on new earth & CELEBRATE diversity and the wide spectrum of creation, His divine plan and creativity, and experiences of all walks. To learn from one another and share culture, to sharpen & sometimes cut off what we can see in each other that our subcultures have taught us outside of the bible, and to embrace and celebrate pictures of the gospel we would not see without diverse family and friends around us.
We are in the business of redeeming spaces. Let’s not wait for new earth & heaven to start to bring Home to the here and now.
Update: a day or two after posting this, I stumbled over this JGivens post from Rapzilla & it could not be a better fit to throw in here – so here it is.

2 thoughts on “Your Presence Matters

  1. Stephanie, you constantly motivate and captivate my attention and heart. This post is what I love her hear about. It’s always been and will always be about relationship. Thank you for always putting that first for me! God is moving through us and I love that you can put to words the feelings that I have but can’t articulate correctly! As always, with gratitude, Janet

    Sent from my iPhone


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