We’ve been in the midst of a Summer of Mission in Community (SOMiC!), where we’ve been doing some “missional experiments” (fancy word for “parties”) to open up space to see where God is at work.
Specifically we’ve been seeking to intentionally lean into two of our core practices: Welcoming and Listening.
Last night in our DNA Group, we were processing some of what we’re learning, and we noticed that as we practice welcoming, we ourselves are welcomed. As we listen, we are listened to.
What we discovered, I think, is the inherent mutuality in all of our practices.
- As we open up space for others, we find others opening up space for us (welcoming).
- As we listen to others, others listen to us (listening).
- As we proclaim good news and encourage others, others encourage us (gospeling).
- As we move beyond the edges of our comfort zone to be with the marginalized, we find others moving toward us to be with us (going).
In fact, this is the primary way we discern God at work in these practices. When we open up a space of welcome, is it reciprocated? Have we found a neighbor who opens up space to us? Who welcomes us? God is at work there, creating a relational connectivity across which good news can flow (both ways).
This is how God works to bring us into an environment of mutuality, where we are all recipients of his grace and love, and it grows as we share it with one another, both giving AND receiving.
If we’re only willing to give, we stay in control and the arrangement becomes imperialistic and paternalistic. We’re the ones who have something for you.
If we’re only willing to receive, we perpetuate the same system, with the “benefactors” in control.
But if we can give and receive, we find these core practices lead us into life in God’s kingdom.
Of course it’s not always this way. Sometimes our overtures of welcoming and listening are rejected. This is OK, too, though. We don’t take it personally, we just realize that not everyone is in a place of receptivity all the time (including us). We brush the dust off our feet and move on, just as others have probably had to do the same with us.
Let’s keep practicing our practices, looking for opportunities to both GIVE and RECEIVE. As we do, we’ll find God at work in our midst, and his grace will be with us to join him in that work, and we’ll be fulfilling our vision to encounter, embody, and extend the reconciling love of Jesus into neighborhoods and networks all over Indy.
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