Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Celebration and Rain at Occidental Square

Have you dried out yet?

The rain came down slowly at first, but as the afternoon wore on, the rain intensity increased until it was finally a major downpour. It certainly made the day more interesting, challenging and at times even confusing as we stood huddled at the end under a number of canopies seeking to stay as dry and warm as we could.

It felt uncomfortable, but it didn’t stop us.

This morning I woke up with a huge sense of God’s pleasure at our obedience. We were able to fulfill the call he gave us to go to Occidental Square to celebrate his resurrection. We banqueted with people from all walks of life; watching many delight in their Easter bags that the children decorated and passed out with a wagon as they moved through the tables.

We had many significant moments as individuals as we brought our stories of how God has worked in our lives, and invitation to receive prayer or a Bible, or even to meet Jesus for the first time.

Here are some of the stories that I know about—but there are so many others. I would love to hear from you about your interactions and how you saw God at work. We spiritually form as we take time to reflect on missio outreach. As we reflect on our own feelings, reactions, disappointments, excitements, as well as how we saw God working, we grow~closer to one another, to the Lord and more integrated in ourselves.

We started the day with great anticipation.

We have been going to prayer walk at the Square almost every day for 7 weeks. God used these times of prayer to grow our hearts for the people he loves as well as our faith to believe that he had big work to do through us Easter Afternoon.

Some of us were practically giddy as we set up. People came out of the woodwork to participate, we truly did come from the east, west, north and south. The rain was barely coming down as we set up. We gathered to pray, a huge circle of people from all walks of life declaring that Jesus is Risen, He is Risen indeed. The line for the meal began to form. We went to pray for the meal, saying that we are not just here to feed you; we want to have lunch with you.

Many of us stepped into that line and got to know the ones that we would share our Easter lunch alongside. I stood by a woman named Kathy that was really moved that we could step into the line and not go all the way to the back. We passed out the nametags so each person could be greeted personally as they made their way through the food line. It made my happy to see that the first server in the line was Kazi, our new friend from Japan who helped to bring representation of the world.

One canopy had people from all walks of life represented, were experiencing some amazing music and worship from our friends from Tanzania, and when the children came by to pass out the Easter Bags, they shouts of delight sounded like children from long ago!

The rain continued to come down harder.

That didn’t dampen our enthusiasm as we continued to serve the ham and potatoes, make people comfortable to eat their lunch. One man came and said to me, “I heard you pray. Can you come pray for my friend, he is very sick?” So, I went to the alcove where this community of 5 was huddling together. They told me their names and I was able to talk to them about Jesus and his resurrection and Kingdom and then one by one I went around that circle praying for the varied needs of this tiny community.

The friend that I came to pray for thought he was having a stroke. After we prayed, he felt strong enough and “brave” enough to go and get some food. Another man had an addiction with drugs. The young woman asked for prayer for her back, and her mother asked for a place to live. The last man asked for prayer for his 9 month old son who suffers with extreme asthma. We prayed together and we prayed in agreement, it was a sweet time of sharing the love of Jesus and calling forth his healing power from Heaven to Earth as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer.

We all came together to worship together around 3 p.m. Even though the rain was by now flooding off the canopies, it didn’t stop people from all walks of life coming together. It was a gift to hear a story from one Missio Lux person and then a disenfranchised person.

Annika stood up and sang a song that moved her so she shared it with the worshippers. Communion moved through the tent, everyone taking it in unity. George from Bread of Life Mission discipleship spoke with ferver about how to be Jesus’ followers all the time, not just when we thought we were “supposed to.” Songs broke out spontaneously, and the stories flowed.

One very sweet homeless couple told me as they left, “this has been the most delightful afternoon that we could ever imagine, but we have to go or we will miss getting a shelter and will have to spend the night in this rain.”

One man named John had asked for prayer from just about anyone who would pray. He was in Hurricane Katrina and found himself in Seattle, but was desperate to go back home. Missio Lux was able to take him to the bus station, buy him a ticket to go to New Orleans so he can go home. John experienced the Kingdom of God in action as he got on that bus. He received his miracle that he had been asking for but it took place quietly, without fanfare.

This morning the sense that is on me is that the Lord is so pleased with us.

He says, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servants.” You came and served me Sunday. You shared communion with me on Sunday. You served me a hot lunch and you ate it with me. You treated me with honor. You celebrated my resurrection with me as we joined for the Banquet of the King with people of all walks of life.The stories haven’t all been told. Please take time to tell your story, so that we can fully celebrate how Jesus is present amongst us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great summary of a very full afternoon Tamara!

I shared some of my thoughts about the day on my blog: www.laurieonlifestyle.blogspot.com

I can't wait to hear everyone's stories. What a wonderful Easter!