I am sitting at our dining room table this morning thinking about how often we miss out on the lavishness of God’s grace and mercy in our lives because we are too busy to listen or too set in our ways to notice.
I have been feeling a little overwhelmed this week by the weeding that has not been done in the garden and the cleaning that has not been done in the house – primarily because we are doing some renovations around the house that both make more mess and take more time. A couple of nights ago there was a knock on our front door. At first we thought that the 2 young men standing there could be Mormon missionaries. Then we realized they were not dressed well enough for that.
It turned out that they had just spent a year as interns at Sojourners community in San Francisco and are now heading up to Canada to help found another community. However their Canada work visas are still somewhere in limbo land and they are temporarily stranded in Seattle. For the first few nights they slept in their car, but then managed to track the Mustard Seed House community down and so ended up on our doorstep. Now we are very keen on hospitality but it would have been very easy to turn them away. After all we knew nothing about either of them, but both Tom and I felt prompted to invite them in.
They are now sleeping on the floor in our unrented basement apartment and have very quickly gotten the garden into shape. In fact it turns out that they are both interested in becoming farmers and so working in the garden is exactly what they like to do.
From our perspective they do seem like angels sent by God to help us at this time. And we are enjoying getting to know them and learning about their interest in community.
This situation has made me realize how important it is to constantly be listening for the voice of God and following the leading of the Spirit. God often works in unexpected ways that push us outside the box of conventional understanding. And when we keep in synch with what God is doing we often don’t just find ourselves walking outside the box. We find ourselves dancing outside it too.
I was reminded of that as I read Acts 10 this morning. Here Peter too is confronted with young men who come from outside his comfort zone – Gentiles who want him to visit Cornelius a Roman centurion who has had a vision from God telling him to invite Peter to his home. Normally Peter would not have gone, but he too had received a vision from God telling him to get outside his comfort zone and realize that God accepts people who are not Jews too. What follows is the story of the first conversion and baptism of Gentiles.
God so often works through unexpected ways not just in the big things of life but in the small too. Stepping outside the box so that we can notice is risky and it can be scary. And it does mean that we need to be constantly listening for what God is saying. But when we do take notice we find ourselves filled with the joy of the spirit in a way that really does have us dancing and singing into the day