Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Other Side



There is a scene in scripture that seems to find and challenge me every time I get too comfortable in my life or cozy in ministry. In Mark 4, Jesus gets poetic and shares parables and teachings with the crowds. People are in awe and the disciples are finding some popularity in this place. Just when they get comfortable and confident about the way this ministry might play out, a storm blows in and the weather changes. Jesus surprises them by saying, "Let us go to the other side." He gets in a boat and heads across the lake where people don't know them and they're unlikely to be accepted. It is here, in chapter 5, that Mark tells the stories of mission and ministry that are most fascinating to me.

It is construction season in Minneapolis and 35W serves as a greater divide than usual this time of year. While the bridge near the U of M is back up and running, other bridges near my home and church are still closed. It takes creativity and patience to cross the divide, especially during rush hour.

Last night I bobbed and weaved through back roads to find a route under the highway and noticed a change when I reached the other side. I rolled down the windows and turned the radio up. The landmarks are even more familiar on this side with memories at every stoplight. The nostalgia steered me to the golf course and soon I was gathering my clubs from the trunk. Some of the starters still remember me from when my high school team practiced there and on the right afternoon, my range tokens and twilight rates are waived. The clubhouse smells like memories, reminding me how familiar this side is.

A huge smile spread across my face as I approached the putting green. Of all the people I could run into here today, it's my little brother. He was home from college for a tournament in the Twin Cities that I didn't know about. We had a good laugh and headed for the range, both admitting that we'd been drawn to Hiawatha for sentimental reasons and that we were surprised to see each other. It is good to come back to these places, to remember and to feel at home.

God has sent me to many places and put me in many boats bound for the far away 'mysterious elsewhere', but this first call takes me to a different kind of other side. It's so close to this side that I might mistake it for comfortable and cozy. So I will be watching and listening when I cross over each morning, ready for God to reveal ways I can participate in the divine mission over there.

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