Last night, after attending an event at the kids' school, I ran to the grocery store (and if that's not an introduction hefty with literary muscle, I don't know what is). Apparently, my coffee habit comes with a side of half-and-half habit and we were clean out.
We were also out of dish soap, Milk Duds, and Flamin' Hot Cheetos Puffs for Darius. Priorities, people.
Five years ago, I would have never in one gajillion years run to the grocery store at 10:15 p.m. in this neighborhood. You know, because it's full of hustlers, dealers, addicts, homeless, and all the other scary people that hang out at the Fiesta after dark. That's what I used to think.
Having this in mind, I smiled as I walked in the door. I immediately recognized the manager - he always works the night shift, the man who works out every morning at the Y, the bagger who graduated from Pinkston last year and is trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life, the mom with her boys picking up cereal for the morning, and the security guard who shoots the bull with the checkers while they're trying to do their jobs.
It amazed me how just knowing my neighbors has changed the way I feel about going out at night. The neighborhood that used to scare the fire out of me has become our community because we've been a part of it day in and day out.
Sure, I'm still careful; I would be anywhere. But I really do understand how important incarnational ministry is after having done it for a while now. This is not just some 'hood full of people I hardly know. I see the same man walking his baby to day care every day when I drop the boys off at school. My dry cleaner knows my kids and what kind of candy they like when we pick up our laundry. The iced tea at Henderson's BBQ was the best in town before it shut down, and I've told you before about the taco stand. Muy fabulouso.
And in living life alongside others, we attempt to be salt and light, to point to a hope beyond what can be seen, and to learn to walk together through the now and not yet of the Kingdom of God.
Tomorrow night will be the very first meeting of Mercy Street Fellowship Church. We are incredibly prayerful that He will call a group together in our community - to be the body of Christ to one another and to worship He alone who is worthy.
Please join us in prayer for the church, for Trey who's eyes light up whenever he talks about it, and for tomorrow our first official gathering.
We're serving dinner before bible study so please also pray for the food - if it sucks, we're toast.