Thursday, April 11, 2013

Small Explosions of Beauty and Flame

"Do you want to see Jesus' crown of thorns? Come with me. I'll show you."

The kid asking this question isn't the most pious of our crew -- rarely wants to read Bible stories or pray. So, I was curious as to what he wanted to show us.

He lead a group of people outside the Cafe, turned right, and walked to the neighborhood park. He pointed to the fence. The top of it was laced with barbed wire. Jesus' crown of thorns, hidden in plain sight in North Central Troy.

Jesus' transfiguration was in a mountaintop blaze of glory, but his transfiguration of our hearts often seems visible only in a flash -- like lighting a match. If you look away at the right moment, you could miss it. If you're looking at the right moment, it is a small explosion of beauty and flame.

Last week, we were playing some baseball. One of our kids suddenly bounced onto his knees and dropped his head low. Then he looked up at me and half-asked, half-declared, "This is how God prays."

I thought for a moment, then remembered he'd watched a film version of Jesus' passion on Good Friday with us. "You mean the way Jesus prayed in the garden?" I asked. He nodded, looking at me with an indulgent expression that said, "Well, obviously."

Somehow, in the middle of the chaos of the ministry going on at Oaks, Jesus is becoming a reality in our peoples' lives. They are beginning to see Him in everyday things, amid the yelling and dog crap on the sidewalk and blowing potato chip bags and broken beer bottles and cop cars screaming past. They're seeing Jesus. They're thinking of Jesus.

The other day, a kid was being careless and hit one of our volunteers in the mouth -- not enough to draw blood, but enough to really hurt.

Now, full stop. The norm when you hit an adult: you run away. Why? The adult could scream at you. The adult could hit you. The adult may tell your parents, who could scream at you or hit you.

Instead, the kid immediately and sincerely said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." And the adult, being a Christian, chided the boy for being careless and then forgave him.

Don't look away, because this is a moment of beauty and flame. Because a boy who hurt someone didn't run. He's been around enough to know he can ask for forgiveness. And, it was granted.

Lord Jesus, only you can light these fires of transfiguration that I can see beginning to burn around me. May the grow ever brighter with your glory -- the Pascal glory of life coming out of death. Alleluia.