Last evening during our missional community gathering, my friend shared this quote from Gordon Cosby, a man who led a far-reaching movement of God’s love, centered in Washington, D.C. He passed away in March, leaving an amazing legacy of radical community and care for the poor. It’s worth sharing here, for all my friends who are a part of a church community (may we be reminded what it’s all about) and for those who have been turned off by religious stuff (may you be encouraged that your experience was NOT what God intends the church be about)……. as you read this, understand that the party is not referring to a “church service,” but to integrated life with God and others:
When we hear the invitation to claim our membership in God’s family, it’s like we’ve stumbled onto a Grace Party. We can hardly believe our good fortune. The sights and sounds of it are pure delight. Abundance characterizes the whole shindig. The most delectable manna is falling everywhere, and wine flows as though from an Artesian well. Everyone is eating and drinking endlessly yet not being harmed because this food and wine are not of the world but New Life.
And get this: Everyone’s invited! That’s the really good news. No one has to crash this party, there’s no limit to how many of my friends I can bring along with me. Or my enemies for that matter. It’s such a blast that I want everyone to come–those with wealth or not a penny to their name, those who are down and out or who thought they had some power. I do notice, though, that the so-called nobodies seem to be having the most fun. It takes the others awhile to lay down everything they brought with them and start to play.
What are people doing at this party? That’s the funny thing–we’re not ‘doing’ much at all. We’re just being. We’re being our real selves, relaxed and eager to help out with whatever the host asks of us. Love is flowing all over the place. Whatever you need, we’re ready.
Do you want someone to listen?
We’ll hear whatever you need to say.
Are you bleeding from the wounds of the past?
We’ll soothe and bandage your wounds.
Do you need to be held for awhile, just being quiet in a safe place?
Not a problem. We have all the time in the world.
Looking for respect, even reverence?
You’ll get such a does of it you’ll wonder if you can take it all in.In fact, there’s so much peace and joy at this party that it can be hard to absorb. Some of us just aren’t able to let in this much unimpeded Love and goodness. That’s all right. The host isn’t pushy. We can come and go as many times as we need to until we can handle this much joy.
This is simply the nature of a Grace Party. None of us is here because we deserve to be. We haven’t earned any of it. And although some of us might keep turning down the invitation, the host will never stop inviting. And neither will we who have decided to stay. We’ll be spreading the news of this unbelievable feast everywhere we go. Come to the party! It won’t be the same if you’re not there.