“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33
This last month I have been reflecting on Christ’s words, “give up everything.” Being a very practical theologian the first thing I asked myself was, what does this really look like?
As I was helping a friend at the Special Olympics in Chicago this summer, I noticed there wasn’t many churches or ministries that offered worship services for people with Special Needs. My friend had one of the few ministries, called Parables that catered to creating a safe and sacred worship space for adults and children alike with Special Needs.
At Parables, during any given worship service you’ll experience a young boy spinning around as he bellows out noises that almost begin to take on a rhythm of there own. Another young man who always seems to be smiling, will clap his hands as he rocks back and forth whenever it’s time to worship through song. Various adults and children will have little instruments in their hands while another young woman sits in the corner and colors, oblivious that anyone else is even in the room. Every time I am at Parables I find myself observing the regular parishioners and guests intently. There is something about this space that always feels like God to me.
This last time as I looked around I had an Epiphany. This space feels like God because as we all worship together, both those with Special Needs and those without, no one seems to be concerned that we are singing a specific song, or that everyone is seated, or that we are reciting the right prayer at the appropriate time. No one demands that certain things happen within the service. There is a freedom that creates a space, allowing oneself to be swept away by God’s presence and unconditional love. To some this looked like spinning, to others it looked like tuning out the world and coloring, and yet to others it looked like clapping as they yelled their thoughts out in joy during a sermon.
There was a chaotic untamable beauty in this service because it reminded me of God’s character. Welcoming all types of people and genuinely meeting them where they’re at. Compromising with those who beat to a different drum and discovering the beauty within the uncomfortable, because the uncomfortable is God.
“For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being.” Isaiah 66:1
What does it look like to fully surrender our lives to God? To fully trust in God’s promise that there will always be “enough” and therefore we begin to give graciously and without fear. To surrender our likes and preferences to whatever God’s Spirit may be doing, no matter how chaotic it may feel as we learn to “let go” of the illusion that we are in control and instead let God’s Spirit move among us freely. What does it look like to surrender to the mystery of God?
I ask you to pray about this with me. Ask God what it looks like for you to give up everything for the glory of God. For the good of the community. For the body of Christ.
What does it look like to die to oneself so that we may be born again in the Spirit and in the likeness of our ridiculously loving God.
God’s peace and love, ❤️