Being 'Little Christs' in Your Own Backyard

Being 'Little Christs' in Your Own Backyard

Posted on September 06, 2017

My back yard is my sanctuary. It is my happy place. It is my sweet spot of morning solitude. It is the favorite room in our house.  

Within the confines of our quarter-acre fenced in yard, we play games, eat dinners, read books, and find peace. But this oasis didn't happen by accident; rather, we've carefully and quite intentionally planted trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers in strategic locations to create this quiet space. These landscape structures effectively block the view of nosy neighbors who walk along our street. After all, who wants to be bothered with small-talk, chit-chat and drawn out conversations about work, family, or life's struggles? There's a beautiful autumnal evening happening all around me and I'd much rather enjoy the sound of crickets and the gentle splash of water from my koi pond. 

As terrible as my actions might appear, I'm not alone in my back-yard obsession. Perhaps you feel the same way about your yard. In fact, we've become a nation of backyard dwellers. If we are ever able to tear ourselves away from our televisions, it is usually to sit on out back or in our screened in back porch, sequestered away from those who dare try to invade the privacy of our lives. What was once a night spent on the front porch, greeting neighbors as they pass along quiet neighborhood streets, has become an evening of intentional retreat into isolation. 

If you attended any services this summer, you know that Grace Church has been challenging us to rethink our desire to search for solitude. Instead of facing away from our those in pain, we're called to live our lives as Christ did: Run to the broken. And there is plenty of broken to run toward: In fact, the world is broken in six places. Its residents are separated from God and isolated from one another. There is injustice at every turn and we don't have to look far to see the hatred that drives us even further apart. As if that weren't enough, our world is experiencing the effects of this brokenness as it decays all around us. 

So, how do I leave the comfort of my lawn furniture? As it turns out, leaving the comfort of our homes and being "little Christs" is easier than you might think. It might be as easy as sitting on our front porch or in our front yard and asking your neighbors about their day and engaging those in your own neighborhood in a real and loving way. You might be called to be a front porch evangelist. 

Or, it might be as easy as working with the Grace Care Center one night a week, helping people who are hungry for both food and friendship.  

You might make a trip to Italy to help African refugees who are trying to find a better life.  

If you are really brave, you might help with the children's ministry at Grace and change a life of a child in a way you could never imagine! 

The challenge is to engage the broken places of the world: 

  • By holding nothing back from God. 

  • Loving people outrageously. 

  • Running to the Broken Places of this world. 

  • And speaking boldly of Jesus always & everywhere. 

To truly follow the lead of Jesus, I must be willing to leave my hideaway and step into the wider world. Imagine the possibilities: We could introduce Jesus to the world, one front porch at a time.