Monday, November 01, 2010

Looking Weary

Last night was Anchor's annual Neighborhood Halloween Maze. It was another successful night of great food, lotsa fun, and plenty of neighborhood kids with their folks. After twelve years of serving our community like this, we've earned a reputation - many people come back year after year, and we do no advertising. And some of the families that come back again and again prompt me to pray harder; they look so weary.

It's not just that it's been a long night of trick or treating, or that they have a big crowd of little masked kids with them. You can see the deep lines in their faces. Families my age, maybe ten years older, but looking like tired octogenarians. What hard life produces those kind of tired cheeks and flat smiles? Is it stress from never having enough? Is it anxiety over a disability which makes for big obstacles to employment? Is it anger and bitterness at lost opportunities? Is it the look of poverty?

I'm glad Anchor has a servant-attitude towards it's neighborhood. I'm thankful that we have members who catch a vision for a project like this, and then make it happen. It was a powerful experience last night to walk into a teeming Foyer of rowdy kids and hobnobbing parents, the smell of hot soups and bowlfulls of candy: and hearing the excitement about how many neighbors had come for the Maze - into the hundreds!

In providing a fun evening for the neighborhood kids, our hope is that we can provide more help for more families on more than just Halloween night. Our challenge: to walk alongside those who are looking weary. In the name of Jesus we bring good news to the poor. A crucial step for us? To actually be good news for our neighbors, to do good and help make the neighborhood a better place to live. And that means learning about what is making the moms and dads to look so weary. What was it that Jesus said? Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

1 comment:

Carla Sue said...

Maybe next year, we could have some type of "sign in sheet" with just a phone number or email and a place for prayer requests. It would help track the number of people who come through, but would also open a door for you or I to approach them to talk, to invite them to get help, to do more and hopefully, to make the smile a little less stressed...