Bringing it to the streets

Last Saturday, I went to South Los Angeles to provide a few hours of volunteer service with a religiously based non-profit.

I've blogged about Faith in Christ Ministries here.

The project for the day was being organized by a church in North Hollywood. I didn't catch the full name of the church. The North Hollywood church provided the bulk of the food and a handful of musicians. Prior to their arrival at FICM, a few of us from the church I go to were there doing some set-up things and there was a college group from out of state (I think) staying at FICM for a few days to gain an urban experience ready to help in any way possible.

Food was set out on tables on the sidewalk, a banner with the words, "Operation Love" and music from inside the auditorium could be heard outside through the one speaker that was run to the door. In short order, a line of people formed along the block.

After getting food, many went inside to hear the music. One singer shared how she once was addicted to drugs but by the love of God so was freed from it and she danced with joy to the music and sang from the bottom of her heart.
Luke 14:13-50 -- Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

"You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The next singer was a Rapper. I have to confess I have little fondness for that musical genre. However, he rapped, I hate what God hates and God hates sin and he ran off a list of sins. He then preached our need for God.

The Kingdom of God is bigger than my imagination. God can be proclaimed by the music of Bach and in the music of the streets of 45th and Western. God can be proclaimed by the wise old fatherly looking preacher in a suit and tie and by a young woman healed from a past with drugs who you wouldn't be able to distinguish from anyone else you see in the grocery store.

C.S. Lewis once wrote:
"There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."

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