Gideon Tsang from Vox Veniae in Austin spoke on Jonah 1…. about extending grace to the city and not running away from the hardship of the broken city. This is the painting I made
I had a really interesting day at Ecclesia…. meaning I had a variety of conversations with different people in the community. I talked with Elvin, who 3 years ago used to live on the street and was a crack addict. Now because of the relationships he’s built with Simple Feast, a weekly luncheon with people from Ecclesia and the homeless, he is sober, of the street, has a job, and is in school training to be a drug counselor. Awesome. A story of something broken being restored.
Then later I talked with Veronica about her dad’s cancer. Veronica is in a band called White Collar Side Show, and they are parked behind our building while they are here visiting her dad as he is going through cancer treatment. I asked her how things are going and she said not well. They opened up her dad and they found that the cancer can’t be removed. There could be something else that can happen, but most likely he won’t heal from this. He’ll die from it. So sad.
These two conversations, plus the many more I had, made me realized how thankful I am to be in a community where it seems to portray real life. Often, I think in churches, our whole pitch is that if you have Jesus that everything is going to get better. But that’s not true. We are restored to God and our hope is in His return when all things are restored. But that story hasn’t been wrapped up yet. We are waiting for it…. and this stage is painful. So if we are only pitching this magical restoration, what happens when hurtful tragic realities happen? i think there are just quick little encouraging statements of everything is going to be alright without a real mourning and weeping together…. and these painful frustrating realities lead us to leave our churches who don’t know how to cope with this.
I felt like my experience for the day was very real. I laughed. I mourned. I took on others pain. I felt the joy of God’s presence. I worshiped. I repented. I sat with others in joy, anticipation, doubt, and fear. It seemed a lot like life. Real life. I never want to believe in anything that isn’t wrapped up in the realities of life.