I was cruising about FB yesterday and my husband suggested I watch this video in a ball pit (click on the “ball pit” to see the video). It was a beautiful project where two people would sit down in a ball pit and get to know one another by answering questions that would start conversation. By the end some of the couples were hugging and taking pictures of each other, swapping phone numbers, etc. It was lovely. In fact, I believe it was a glimpse of the holy. This is a picture of the God’s reign on earth. I don’t want to puff this up to being hyperbole, because you might not see what I see. It is simple in some ways, two adults who don’t know each other taking a risk to sit in a children’s play pen, in a public place, to get to know someone.
You can ask anyone in my church what I think is fundamental in growing the church, building God’s reign on earth, and they will tell you it’s all about relationships. And relationships are built-in trust. And trust is grown when we take the risk to love. Trust is built when we take the risk to forgive. Trust is nurtured when we open our hearts to the promise that God has something bigger in mind than our hurt or our fear. Trust become foundational when we begin to recognize who we are, and that who we are is related to who they are, who the stranger is, who the other is. When we begin to understand that what we have in common is more important than what separates us, when we begin to embody the spirit of mutual care, that is where we meet the divine. As a Christian I name that Spirit as Holy and that beautiful connection is Jesus Christ.
It is moments like this, seen in “Take a Seat – Make a Friend?” (which many adults in our society do not afford themselves very often) where the barriers we wear every day (protecting us from the pain caused by dangerous people, protecting us from the hurt caused by people we’ve loved, protecting from the joy that comes from deeper mutual relationship) begin to melt away. In that kind of relationship compassion is born, life is built, trust takes root. In that kind of relationship, our politics don’t define who our friends are; our faith doesn’t repel the unchurched or the de-churched; the color of our skin doesn’t define our likes and dislikes; sex and gender issues don’t become reasons to walk away; and economics don’t define our equality and inequality. Instead, the disarming nature of the questions ball pit brings humanity to the stranger we pass every day without noticing.
This is who the church should be. These are the kinds of relationships we should be growing. Instead of protecting our precious finances, instead of keeping the stranger at arm’s length, instead of claiming those who are ‘ins’ and those who are ‘outs’, church needs to be risking intimacy with the stranger, sharing radical hospitality, understanding our mutual care benefits all, and anything else hurts us all.
I see glimpses of this in the church, I pray we cultivate more of it, more often. I am not better than you; you are not better than me; we are God’s, and God is good.
Thank you to soulpancake for sharing this.