Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Annals of this Jubilee Summer: What's Missing?

I'm a big fan of dumb jokes. I'm not the king of dumb jokes. I can't reel off a ton of them (though this does give me a chance to give a shout out to my friend Phil Amerson!). Dumb jokes do make me laugh - but cheesy jokes make me grimace. One of the more common ones on church signs is the following Ch_ _ch: What's Missing? UR ("You are")

I was thinking of that question on my evening walk tonight as I was pondering several good discussions this afternoon around Broadway. The discussions were around this summer's activities -- what we are calling (at least from this morning's discussion at staff) not "the summer program" but "The Jubilee Summer." I kind of like that. It imbues the whole thing with a sense that what we are doing is filling our lives with the life of God's Spirit active and present in our community -- in the sense of the Jubilee that is all around us!

We created (and opened) some new space up at Broadway. It's right inside the main entrance. Folks who have been around Broadway will know it as the old "Thrift Shop" space. Now it will be a place where ideas and creativity are exchanged. The walls have paper on them. There are markers around the room and you are invited to stop in and post your ideas. There is an order to what we are doing in this Jubilee Summer Space. First of all - on three of the walls we are asking people to write down - the names of people they know and the gifts they have, things they care about, things they are willing to do. We were talking about a conversation that De'Amon had over two years ago with someone in the neighborhood who now worships at Broadway. One of the things that De'Amon remembered was that Lee was interested in hosting a barbecue for fathers who are his neighbors. So - that was one of the first names that went up on the board.

So, that leads to the first responsibility/calling of this Jubilee Summer -- that is to say "NAMING." It is alive in the individuals who make up our life together in this place. We put up the names of artists and cooks - people like Avis, Al, Gary, Mari, Keisha, Kyla, Deloris, Seana, Eric. But they are just the very small part of a beginning. We hope that people will stop by and write on the walls - the things they have heard and seen in the lives of others around. Also, if they see something they are interested in - they can connect someone else to it (if not themselves).

So, what comes after NAMING? The second thing I thought of, is "BLESSING." I've been reading a wonderful little book by Gary Gunderson and Larry Pray entitled "Leading Causes of Life." BLESSING is one of the central foci of the book. I like it, because once we can name where we know and see the Spirit active in the lives of others, we can go and offer a blessing. Terri and Martha who run the program can be "BLESSERS in Chief!" They can go and lay hands on people and bless them and thank them for what they are doing - for the sharing of their gifts. We aren't looking to create things here as much as we are looking to recognize the power and the presence of the Spirit of God. But blessing can also happen in other ways than laying on of hands (though that is a personal favorite of mine). But we could also print up certificates, like Keisha Maxxison did over five years ago, and took a certificate to 30 gardeners around the neighborhood and thanked them for beautifying the neighborhood. That is a form of blessing.

Finally, the next work - once we have named and blessed is what I would like to call "THE HOLY WORK OF ENCOURAGEMENT." This work -- this good and holy work - strives to find ways to surround those with gifts and passions for the working out of those gifts - with a community of fellow citizens/members who will pray for them, encourage them, and walk alongside them - in living out their dream. Many people will already have people in their lives who do this - but can't we always use more?

Okay - this is where it comes back to you, reader. What's missing? What others posts do we need to hang our hat on? What do we need to add to NAMING, BLESSING, AND THE HOLY WORK OF ENCOURAGEMENT?

Finallly, I mentioned what is being written on three of those walls in the Jubilee Summer Space - on the fourth wall is just a place for you to write down any old idea that has come to mind. You may not be able to name anyone who is actually going to do it. But it still has come to mind. Write it up there. Let others see it. Let it marinate. Something good may arise from it. But others need to see it. Share. Build. Play.