Thursday, June 4, 2009
Conversations of Without Walls, May 29th, Falls Park, Greenville, SC
If we would have tried to work it up or spent time preparing it, it would not have had that quality of uninhibited abandon. This night God called on the young people and the children to lift their voices, their hands, smiles and hearts to Him. It was a bright light that stopped passers-by. With every song this group of 20 young people sang, God brought wave after wave of the drawn and the curious. A couple with young children stopped to worship with the impromptu choir. A group walking by with ice cream in hand had one of those domino effects as the lady in front stopped to look where the sound was coming from. Then the whole group began to read the sign and listen intently.
After the group finished singing, a beautiful young woman approached us and shared how she had always enjoyed worshipping out in public. She and a group of friends would sing in the open air on their visits to the beach and big cities. She said that she loved it because it offered intimacy without pressure. She was thrilled about what was going on in Greenville and said she would be back. She seemed surprised when we invited her to join us in singing. Shyly she said, “I was… just from my seat over there.”
Earlier in the evening, two young ladies, who ages combined would not have summed up to ten years, pulled up their chairs to the front row. They enjoyed their prime seats. They ate their ice cream covered in sprinkles and gummy bears and rocked back and forth to the rhythm of lively tempos. The more they rocked, the bigger the smiles, the bigger the smiles the more sticky ice cream ringed their mouths. We had as much fun watching them as they did us!
An elderly African American couple walked by hand in hand, laughing and talking together. They stopped to speak with one of the WW ministers and he said to them, “It is so nice to see a couple that enjoys each other.” The older man remarked to this young man in wonder, “Thank you for being so friendly.”
Two beautiful silver-haired ladies share this: “A person who has had one of “those” long weeks can come into this place of rest and stay as long as they need to be refreshed and healed. It may be only a matter of minutes, but it can make a world of difference to them.”
Conversations. Sometimes they are brief. Sometimes, long, emotional, and intense or satisfying, delightful, and spiritual. Sometimes you are holding your sides afraid they will split from laughter. And yet other times you just have to hold your head in your hands without resolution. All of these exchanges must begin somewhere. That is what we are trying to accomplish in these brief moments of people’s time. We are starting a conversation that we may never finish. In fact, to be perfectly honest, it is not our conversation to begin with. This is the Lord saying, “Hi, we’ve never met, but I’m glad you’ve been drawn here.” Or “Hey, it’s me, the Lover of your soul, it’s been awhile….” For most, “I’ve heard you’ve been having a rough time, why don’t you sit down, relax and tell me about it.” If you take a second to stop and watch when the presence is strong you can almost see these conversations happening on the countenances of the faces in the crowd. This may make some nervous about Without Walls. We aren’t using this time for correction or debates, it is a time dedicated to God, to facilitate the possibility of a conversation that may never happen otherwise. It’s these divine moments that we live and breathe for. These instances of kairos, when Heaven intersects Earth, once tasted are sought after in even the smallest inspirations.