It gives me great joy to share this guest blog post written by Thomas Alexander, Episcopal Youth Event Mission Planning Team member from the Diocese of Arkansas, Province 7. In the short time I have known Thomas, I have found him thoughtful and reflective; a great asset to the EYE Team. I am confident you will be impacted by the story Thomas shares below.
I have felt God’s presence in the past few weeks more than usual, and as a result, I’ve been craving to bridge my relationship with God and my relationship with other people.
I guess we find God working in the most unlikely of places.
This past Monday, I went for a morning run through the quiet suburban neighborhood surrounding my house. I hadn’t been for a run in a while, so I had some expectations: The vibrant trees arching above the streets are a sight to see in Arkansas during this time of year. The neighbors were tending their gardens. I occasionally encountered another runner, and would give a good ‘ole Southern “Good morning” or “Have a nice day!” I expected those things.
However, it seems as if God likes to meet our expectations and then surprise us by exceeding them.
I saw a couple of people rushing to their cars as, I assume, they were trying to beat the clock and get to their destination. I saw an older man sitting on a bench alone, and when I lapped back that way twenty or so minutes later, he was still there. I saw a younger woman sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette, and when I told her “good morning”, I recieved no response. I passed a man in his late twenties, I presume, pushing a child in a stroller, and both had genuine and joyful smiles.
I don’t know the stories of any of those people, but during that thirty or so minutes, I was surprised by God.
He gave me a glimpse of his world, and where he is at work daily. During that half-hour I saw through God’s eyes, and could see what else is happening outside the places I take shelter in: my home, my school, and my church. Perhaps a daily morning run isn’t for you, but stepping out into the real world every once in a while gives us perspective for what God is doing out there, and maybe, we can find a place to join him.
A previous Dean of the General Theological Seminary once defined Mission as “finding where God is already at work in the world and joining him there.”
As we move into the Summer, and as many of us leave our places of comfort much more often, observe what is around you, and ask yourself this question:
“Where is God at work, and how can I join him there?”