Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lost under Open Skies...

Many of our conversations over the past few years have centered around trying to avoid using terminology that magnify the perception that there are those who are "in" and those who are "out." Out of this has come our refusal to call those who are not Christians "lost." Because, honestly, who is going to want to engage in meaningful dialogue with you if they know you believe them to be in the dark?

Today, however, I discovered a reason to justify using the term. I became lost. It wasn't a strange place that triggered my condition. I was in the middle of Waco, the city that has become my home and that I am very familiar with. We had our worship service this morning downtown at Indian Springs park, right on the Brazos River. When I walked up to the amphitheater, already teeming with hundreds of people, I knew exactly where I was, but I felt totally, helplessly, lost.

For the past couple of years I have suffered from a social ailment that requires me to seek out familiar and safe faces in a crowd before I can feel at ease. If I don't spot these people immediately, my body tightens up and I begin to believe that my years of having friends are over. I think many of us who were nerds at a young age and then developed our social acumen over time as a survival mechanism have this fear. It's a fear that tells us constantly, "You are destined to be alone when everyone else has friends." When this fear sneaks up on us, large crowds serve not to give us hope that there is a way out, but rather to magnify our loneliness.

I wonder if there were those like me standing in the street on the Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem to the deafening sound of the gathering crowds. Were there those who were swept up in the adrenaline brought on by rumors of deliverance, but at the same time had this gnawing feeling in their gut that they were all alone in the crowd? Did the social butterflies fear what would become of them when Jesus began tending to the duties of this Kingdom they believed he was about to establish? What about the teachers, those who had devoted their entire lives to guiding the Jewish people in the direction of God. Did they feel lost?

The service was beautiful. We sang songs, said a prayer for Palm Sunday, had baptism and communion. The sun reflected warmth and brightness from the dirty old river, except where it was broken up by the occasional speedboat. The shades of green bursting forth in Central Texas today are as numerous as the amount of lost souls gathering together at the park to celebrate the entrance of Jesus into our crazy city. The scales of my fear slowly began to fall to the ground as I became surrounded by more recognizable faces and as the words from the Crowder band echoed throughout downtown, reminding us all that we are not alone...

Wherever you are, wherever you've been, He's been there.


I then felt found again.

3 comments:

Ashley said...

"I think many of us who were nerds at a young age and then developed our social acumen over time as a survival mechanism have this fear."
I felt this sort of thing a lot this weekend. Glad to know I'm not the only one...

Katy said...

I always feel lost when I can't find familiar people. Like I've been displaced. And maybe you kind of were on Sunday? I mean, no one was where they were supposed to be, because there were no chairs and people couldn't go to their normal "spots" to sit.

Chris said...

Great work. I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Thanks.