One of the things I love about Trinity is the way so many people put feet to their faith. From helping provide needed supplies to single moms through Living Hope to providing food to those in need in Liberia, West Africa, your faith compels you to show up for others, and I am encouraged by your actions. In the Christian faith we have a God who shows up and is present with us. In account after account throughout scripture we see this to be true of God’s character.
In the incarnation God “puts on flesh and moves into the neighborhood” according to Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of John 1:14 in The Message. We get the ultimate glimpse of who God is as we look at the person of Jesus and how He encounters others throughout scripture.
- Jesus stopped to hear the whole story of the woman with the issue of blood who desperately tried to sneak a touch of His garment through a crowd.
- He had to go through Samaria for the opportunity to visit with a woman with a questionable reputation at the well near the town of Sychar.
- He called Zacchaeus by name the first time they met and spent time with him in his home.
- He entered a cemetery to meet a man who lived among the tombs, commanded the evil spirits out of him into a herd of pigs and left the man in his right mind.
- He showed up at Levi’s tax booth and invited him out of his life of crooked business and into a new life of adventure as a disciple.
- Jesus commanded the wind and the waves to be still with His voice when the disciples, terrified for their lives, woke Him from sleep in the stern of the boat. The disciples who once were terrified of the storm were now filled with great fear at the demonstration of power of the One who stood before them. “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
For over 20 years I have served with Young Life, an outreach ministry that seeks to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. For the last couple months, the local staff and volunteer leaders have worked hard to stay connected with students through various forms of technology. A few weeks ago, tired of video screens, some determined local Young Life leaders decided to take their own flesh into the neighborhoods. They formed caravans and followed each other around town to safely visit students from the curb, drop treats on porches and say hello in person (from a distance and sometimes through a megaphone for special effect) to their middle school, high school and college friends. Motivated by their own encounters with Jesus and the desire to reflect His character to their young friends, they creatively figured out how to “show up” and be “with” students.
I have jumped on their caravan bandwagon and these “drive-by” visits have become just as much of an encouragement to me as the students we go see. We need to show up for and be with each other in a way that reflects the character of an incarnational God who left heaven to have a relationship with us. It may take some fresh creativity to be safe, responsible and respectful. But my experience has been that as we go we will be reminded of the One who created us, who has shown up for us and in whom we have the hope of new life to come!