Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jonah Lessons from the Streets of Toronto

They’re gone. I would say it feels weird how quiet it is in the church without everyone here, except that they’re doing some construction stuff and hammers really aren’t all that quiet.
It’s weird to think that they’ll probably never be back here again; I just spent this whole week with 24 people that I may never see again in my life. I guess what I really hope is that I’ve made some kind of difference. Maybe most of the difference you make, you never know but I think what was cool was the things I do know I guess I didn’t really expect.
When Eden shared at final challenge last night, of course I was listening. Then I saw this verse up on my wall and it was exactly what she was talking about, so I pulled it off, wrote a little note on the back and gave it to her.
I think going into this summer my passion was for the homeless, for the people the groups are coming to serve but really I’m finding this passion for the people that come on these trips. I love being in a position that allows me to spread passion like wildfire. I love the idea that these people now will pass it on to others. It makes it so purely God’s ministry.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, serving the poor is God’s ministry, but He did it by teaching others, empowering them to continue in ministry especially after He left. I loved leading my first street walk, but even more I loved afterwards just talking to Emily in the kitchen about how she was really feeling and being able to just pour into her how valuable she is. And I think that this only really happens after we get outside ourselves. I mean I spent the first few days really struggling with not tapping into God and His plan and being self-conscious because I was ridiculous enough to think that any of this was really about me and if I was doing a good enough job. The truth is I have full authority and power in Jesus Christ. I’m not Jonah stewing in the belly of a whale, but I’m Sarah, fighting with all my heart to burst out of this big fish I’m stuck in, get messy and trust that God will clean me up so that I smell pleasantly to the people God has called me to serve. It’s just a lot of thoughts, I know, but really what I do isn’t so much a blog, but poetry, so here’s all of this translated:

it’s a big city.

blind are we
the cup bearer to the passer by,
and like an ocean’s wave,
with nothing to say but good bye
as it drifts away
as if we ever see it coming
a big one
to pull you under
life stolen, breath pushed out
and all at once we are a little fish swallowed whole
dragged in,
kicking and screaming
or maybe not.
maybe we shrug a little
and with a give of acceptance,
down we go.
it’s a dark place really
how would light ever get there?
what good would light do there?
so there we sit.
I sit.
fermenting in my thoughts
resisting righteousness at every turn
an empty belly to this great beast
living in a lie – lying in a life.
regardless, dying a little more each day
until you realize some seed of truth
the watermelon that went down with you
the one that’s been stuck in your throat all along.
then comes the decision:
be digested.
or fight to be free.
a life lived is one of more than just regurgitation
we fight our sea monsters,
wrestle a little,
get eaten eventually,
and very messily get shown the way out.
vomited up, then you are washed clean
if you always stay in the boat then you’ll never delve deep.
we might be Jonah – little fish in big oceans
but not once were we left to die.

I love how the last line in the book of Jonah is, “should I not be concerned about this great city?” It’s almost as if God leaves us to the realization that we all come to on our own time – yes God, Your plans are bigger, ways much higher and who am I to begin to get it. It may seem like this is all way over my head and I’m just a little fish but really this all isn’t mine, it’s God’s and it’s beautiful.

-Sarah, CSM Toronto Summer 2010 City Host

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