Hope in Disruptive Promptings
By Ron Harmon of Claremont, CA, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
Barb and I recently visited Park Church in Carlsbad, California. This expression of loving community emerged from a courageous decision to let go of certainty (i.e., bricks and mortar) for uncertainty (i.e., ministry to those forgotten in their community). Each week this group gathers in a community park and invites many without shelter or food to find sanctuary in loving relationships, a meal, and a simple service.
We drove down the night before and stayed at a beach home graciously offered by a generous church member. The next morning, we walked to the park and shared in an authentic experience of loving community. After the message, we shared the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in the park. We walked across soft, green grass with our communion trays, offered life-giving bread and juice, and affirmed God’s blessing for each person encountered. We then closed our time together in a large circle outside the community center. Barb offered prayer, affirming the worth of each person and God’s persistent and unconditional love. It was a powerful experience of life together in the Spirit, and we all knew what we had just experienced.
I reflect on that experience often. I remember the unsettling contrast between the beautiful beach home and lives that lacked even the most basic physical needs. I see the warm smiles and gratitude for a simple gift of bread and juice. I feel the warmth of a hand clasping mine as we shared in a circle of affirmation and love. Is this what Jesus had in mind when he shared with his friends in that upper room?
In the sacred meal of bread and juice I am disturbed with memories of unsettledness and hope. I am unsettled in my complacency at times with the status quo. I find hope in disruptive promptings that inspire me toward what could be. God, help me shed worldly distractions that obscure the reality of human suffering and the divine possibility for our future.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.