Silver Street, Golden Heart… November 19, 2012


I prefer the word “unusual.” “Weird” always sounds too judgmental. Actually, I would rather you refer to my particular tastes, desires and inclinations as “selective.” But whatever your choices, whether “unusual,” “selective,” or if you insist, “weird,” you may feel free to call me that. Because whenever I arrive at a church, I am immediately looking for signs of Jesus.

Other people may be impressed with the building. You may wish to “ooh and aah” over the organ pipes. For me it is a quest to acquire the heart of the Master of our faith.

Silver Street United Methodist Church was my last stop-off on this Spirited Tour in 2012. I was looking for signs of Jesus.

It started on Saturday night when I met Don and Vicky, who pastor this congregation. Because of the situation with my legs, I am presently unable to carry in my own equipment. They took on a servant’s heart. How can I characterize a servant’s heart? It’s someone who arrives at your side at just the right moment and whispers in your ear, “Let me make it easier.” That they did.

Another sign of Jesus I look for is joyousness. I will never forget the lady who came up to me after yesterday’s presentation and with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, exclaimed, “I just want to be happy!” She may have uttered the phrase which is truly the secret of the universe. Because as any well-seasoned traveler knows, happiness never arrives. It is always chased down and tenaciously embraced.

Jesus believed in life abundant. It’s one of his signs. Several people marched out yesterday saying, “I feel alive.” You can’t really blame people for crawling inside themselves and dying a little bit every day when our society has decided that the best way to act out our freedom and maturity is to be pessimistic and angry. So what happens when you remove dark predictions, fearful apprehensions and prejudice from your spirit? You suddenly feel alive instead of like you’re crawling into your grave.

Of course, one of the signs of Jesus is finding folks who want to be the salt of the earth. There was an old man yesterday who was just about as feeble on his feet as I am, who ambled to my side when I was packing up my books and said, “What can I do?” I almost cried. You see, that’s salt of the earth.  Salt of the earth is not complaining about the lack of flavor in your world; it’s sprinkling in what you have to offer to enhance the recipe of life.

One of my favorite signs of Jesus is finding folks who really want to be the light of the world. Being a light in any situation demands a faithful balance of bringing what you’ve got and arriving with a bit of humility. A young man came to my book table when he saw it was free of other visitors and asked me a very poingnant question. “Where do I start?” He wants to be a writer–or maybe it was a singer. Or perhaps a preacher–he hadn’t decided but he wanted to know where to start.

I didn’t get too philosophical with him and I didn’t tell him he needed to know what he wants to do now. I just said,”There are a lot of things going on. Find something that has passion, throw your heart into it and see how it feels. God will show you when you’ve harbored up in the right port.”

Looking for signs of Jesus.

So I headed out the door of Silver Street, having completed my work there, and was rising from my wheel chair to walk the few steps to my van, when a dear lady standing nearby said softly, “Does it hurt?”

There you go. Another sign of Jesus. Compassion. Merely being able to feel my own pain without transferring that experience into sensing the pain of others too often just become self-pity. For a moment that woman stepped out of herself and wondered what it was like to be me. Amazing. My response to her was, “Yes. It does hurt. But not as much when you know someone cares.” We shared a smile.

I went to Silver Street looking for signs of Jesus.

  • I found a servant’s heart— “let us make it easier.”
  • I spied joy— “I want to be happy.”
  • A whole bunch of life abundant— “I want to live.”
  • Then there was the salt of the earth— “What can I do?”
  • The light of the world— “Where do I start?”
  • And that blessed compassion, which asks, “Does it hurt?”

Thank you, dear hearts, for opening up to me and allowing me to open up to you–to create an atmosphere of openness. You were the omega to my journey and an ongoing reminder that as long as we can find Jesus in the church, we do have a very important reason … to assemble together.

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