Friday, August 1, 2014

Hot dogs and hope

On Sunday afternoon, the church was full.

Full of hot dogs and hungry, hoping people.
They didn’t exactly know why they had been invited to Family Fun Day – or what most of those words mean anyway.

But they came because they were hungry and hoping.

It seemed like they came out of the woodworks... Grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren, a mother unable to speak and her children who’ve never heard her voice, a blind, immobile baby carried in by the mother who’s been in hiding since her birth, overwhelmed caregivers, and hungry hoping in every age, shape and size.

But they didn’t come out of the woodworks. They were invited.
They were invited by a few families in the church who’ve been listening, learning and leaning in to what Family really is. Who He is. Family infiltrated their homes and is now spreading around to their neighbors.

Families who don’t have enough are giving it away. There’s SO MUCH need.

But the Father’s arm is not too short and the Family of God’s inheritance never runs out. The families who don’t have are giving.

We invited all the people who have been giving from what some would call their poverty. They don’t call it anything. They just give it. And we invited those whose list of needs is overwhelming.

There is more when we are together. So we came together.

We weren’t there to wave a magic wand or move that bus and make everything happily ever after. We were there to be family because when you have family, you have enough.

We did what families do… or what families should do. We ate hot dogs, and we danced. Even better, we had a dance-off!

It got serious.
The finals involved blindfolds.
And, you know what? We suddenly forgot who was coming from around the world with cameras and blogs, who was scraping the bottom of pans and pockets to give to a neighbor, and who didn’t even have a pan or pocket to scour. Suddenly, there was a reason to come together for something that wasn’t need or sickness or despair. Something together. With a candy bar prize!

When the labels, needs and desperation fell off, and when the music turned on, it was like the heavens swung open and started bringing sexy back. (Ok fine, we didn’t actually play that song but it does create the perfect visual… and I’m pretty sure there were some angels droppin’ it like it was hot.)

I have never heard laughter, celebration or joy like I heard that Sunday afternoon. I have never experienced such a tremendous level of family and freedom when nothing had changed but the soundtrack.

Everything changed on that stage, and Family Fun Day changed us.

It wasn’t about the schedule of events or the candy bar prize.

It was about having a reason to come together.
Labels and lists abandoned.
Freedom to bring out your best and it being celebrated.
A crowd of the neighbors you’ve been too ashamed to look at cheering for you.
A smile you haven’t smiled in years and laughter you’ve never known.
Being invited and being called family.

Today I sat with two families who’ve done their best to stay invisible. They had come to Family Fun Day, and today they were not afraid. They laid out every need, struggle and longing. They let us pray, and they said we could be a part of their lives. They invited us in, and said we could be family. They promised to give what they have – even if it’s just their tears and prayers.

All from a little shimmy.
And from the Spirit of God Who shimmied His perfect love through their shame and brokenness through an invitation and a celebration.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the one with the camera and blog, the one who is scraping your pots, or the one who doesn’t even have a pot to scrape. You’re invited to that stage and celebrated there. You’re seen and welcomed, and there are no labels on you.

On Family Fun Day and every day, the needs didn’t disappear and the tragedies did not cease. But we danced the Kingdom down. We dropped it down low.

Get your hot dogs; get your hungry; get your hoping.

Until every hunger is satisfied and every need is met, get up there together where there is enough and where it’s not about the needs.
The Kingdom has come, and the Kingdom is coming.

So invite them up on the family's stage, and shake it till He makes it. 

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