Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lights Out

One thing I've had to get used to at CSM is the sleeping schedules of my fellow staff members. I am a night owl, and aside from the first week or two here, I have maintained that characteristic! I am usually in bed before midnight, and I rise about 7:30 the next morning. Luckily, I only need about 6-7 hours to function during the day. The rest of the staff goes to bed anywhere between 10 and 11 on any given night. As a result, I find myself walking in the darkness quite often. Sometimes I must tiptoe over sleeping bodies as I make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. There have been quite a few nights where I've read my Bible by the streetlight that glows over Pennsgrove Street. I've learned to walk lightly on the creaking floors so as to not wake anyone. The ability to see in the dark has been quite useful in that aspect.

On one particular day, I decided to go to Fairmount Park to read my Bible. There was a nice gazebo that overlooked the Schuylkill River. The sun was on it's way down, and it was just a beautiful scene. In the middle of my reading, the light all of a sudden got much dimmer. I was taken aback by the change in lighting, but I realized that it was just because the sun had set behind the trees. That moment, however, made me realize how powerful and in charge God is over the light. He can change the day to night in an instant, but chooses to do so in such a way that leaves us with a beautiful sunset!

There has been a common occurrence between me and my groups this summer. I find something very familiar about the people I'm working with each week. It's obvious that I've never met these people before since they are from different states, but something in me is just very comfortable about being myself and interacting with them. I couldn't place what it was until God used a man in the Kensington area to explain this phenomenon.

We had just finished the 'Kensington Plunge' and were waiting by the vans to depart. The plunge has the groups split up into teams of 3 or 4. Each person is given $2 and they are asked to go out and meet people. Through conversations and interactions, if they find a way they can bless someone's day with the money they have been given, we encourage them to do so. As this particular man walked by, he stopped, looked at me and my group and said, 'Are you Christians?' We answered him that we were and he said, 'I knew it! I could see it in your faces!' He walked on his way and I could hear him bragging to his partner how he had guessed correctly. The familiarity I had recognized in my groups had nothing to do with whether I met them before or not. It was the fact that they were radiating someone whom I have come to know quite well over the past few years. Through their reflection of Him, I have recognized Jesus in my groups.

Seeing in the dark has stretched far beyond my living situation. God has used situations like the sunset in Fairmount Park to show me that He is capable of giving us enough light to see what He wants us to see. He has given me the privilege of seeing His light in the darkest places of Philly, such as Kensington. Finally, the light reflected by my groups has caused me to recognize Jesus working through them. I probably won't go to bed any earlier the rest of this summer, but I can rest assured that regardless of how much light is available, God will help me to see!

-Tim, CSM Philly City Host Summer 2008

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