May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.—Romans 15:13
Last week, I shared the story of the picnic table in my front yard. Today is part two of this ongoing neighborhood adventure.
The day I saw the table on my front lawn, my husband Jeff texted me: “This is my contribution for healing and missional living in our community.” A smile swept over my face and a deep sense of gratitude filled my heart. Missional living is so much more fun and exciting when you’re doing it together. Jesus knew this when he sent out his disciples in pairs in Luke 10. It says they “returned with joy.” (v 17)
Full of joy, I immediately texted my neighbor, Lindsey, who lives two houses down from me. “Come and see what Jeff dropped off in our front lawn.” Lindsey and her two daughters arrived shortly thereafter. My daughters Ella and Ava joined us. We all sat at the table together, drinking lemonade and talking about what color to paint the table. We wondered how the table might impact our neighborhood.
Lindsey’s oldest daughter, Lily, who has a chronic health condition, had an idea. “When I was at the hospital recently, we had a common rocking chair the children would sit on. Children would write messages of encouragement on the chair. I think we should write messages of hope on the table,” Lily said.
We all agreed. I went and got the Sharpie markers. We’d write messages of hope on the table and invite others who passed by the table to write a message of hope too. The girls all had one concern, however: What if someone writes an inappropriate message on the table? I said, “Then we will just take some sand paper and sand it off. Just like Jesus takes away our mistakes, we will wipe it away and forgive it.” We all agreed that was a great way to deal with it.
So far, all the messages have been positive. Here are some of my favorite ones. We’ve had so many interesting conversations and special moments too. I’ve met new neighbors. I’ve seen children passing by on their way home from school take a few minutes to sit at the table and talk together. I see more smiles on my street. The Holy Spirit is spreading hope on our street, and we are filled with joy!
How might the Holy Spirit be calling you to be a neighborhood missionary? Let’s share the ways God is calling us to move in and among our neighbors.