By Than Veltman, Community Outreach Ministries Coordinator
I recently came across an important insight by Lesslie Newbigin, a theologian and long-time
missionary in India. He pointed out that the life of Christ was both a rebellion against the limits of this world, as seen in his miracles and ministry, and, in his death, an acceptance of them.
The Church is called to reflect this life of Christ by creatively maintaining this tension. My hearing loss is a personal example. On the one hand, I must accept that my hearing loss affects my life and limits me in some ways. Yet my cochlear implants have restored much of my hearing and I am able to participate effectively and creatively in the life of the Church and in society despite my limitations.
I also have the unique opportunity to live out this tension in my role as the Community Outreach Ministries Coordinator at Lake. While coordinating and serving the Sunday Community Meal for people who are homeless or low income, I see the limits of this world through mental illness or physical disabilities and stories of sleeping on the street. But I also see active rebellion against the limits of this world: beautiful poetry shared by guests that proclaims the love of Christ; guests playing music on the piano; jokes and humor shared by our neighbors. Beauty, joy, and humor in the midst of challenges and suffering shout out against the limits of this world and proclaim glimpses of the Kingdom.
This tension is also present in my work in the Neighborhood Center. Our homelessness
prevention program aims to assist our neighbors who have experienced a crisis and are at risk of becoming homeless. I meet with these neighbors and hear their stories of pain and suffering. But as a representative of Lake, I also proclaim God’s power into their lives and help them rebel against the limits of this world, whatever those limits may be. We know, of course, that Christ’s resurrection means that the acceptance of the limits of this world is only temporary. In the meantime, we catch glimpses of the Kingdom and proclaim to all that we will not be bound by the limits of this world forever! We at Lake Avenue Church have a special opportunity to do just that. Will you join me in catching those glimpses and proclaiming them to the world?