This was originally posted at EpinoiaCafe.com.
Lately, we’ve been spending some time at the park downtown. One day, I walked around with R for a while with cookies to share. On another, we were spreading the word about an emergency shelter, because it was to be very cold that night. Most recently, it’s been showing up with pizza on Saturday evenings, because Saturday is the one night that dinner is really hard to come by, if you’re broke.
One thing I’ve learned from this is that helping isn’t hard. Showing up isn’t half the solution. It’s, like, 100% of the solution.
But the real work we’re doing is an experiment in grace. We don’t know how to love God, our neighbors, or even our selves. We struggle, are scared, pray for peace in our hearts, all the while working on our own doubts about wealth and poverty. Can we “afford” to give? Will we lose our own home? Sometimes we interrupt our sharing with others to go and hold each other while we cry.
This experiment, the Radical Love Project, is about turning toward God, toward love, in each moment. There aren’t easy answers. Jesus didn’t say to be sure all your neighbors have at least three pair of socks, or give only if you have a house, but not if you have a tiny apartment. He said to love, fully and deeply, without reservation. So that’s what we are trying to do.
If you’re curious about this idea of radical love, I’d suggest watching Ordinary Radicals, a documentary about some folks who are trying to live out the vision, or reading The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne. (We have it, and would love to plan a showing if folks are interested.)
You can play too
We’re a disorganized band of ragamuffins, but you can probably find us at Washington/Jefferson park at the stage around 6 on Saturday nights. You are welcome to join us in whatever state you find yourself in. We invite you to come and be loved exactly as you are. What to bring? Whatever you have enough of to share. If you have lots of loving attention, bring that. If you’re scared, but you have material resources, bring food or new tube socks. It will all work out.
(If you think you have nothing at all to offer, then you really should come. Please, come hungry!)