We took students to Dorchester on Saturday for our Spring ReadRetreatServe (you can read more about RRS here and here). The pics are from all parts of the day: our morning in quiet reading and reflection…our middle of the day conversations…and our afternoon of serving alongside Quincy Street Missional Church. I love these days…the ongoing work that goes on there all through the year and these moments where bridges are built…bridges from campus in to the community.
For the “read” part of the day, students wrestled with three different perspective on the “act justly” clause of Micah 6:8.
One of the readings was from John Perkins’ book With Justice For All where he outlines the basics of his classic 3 “R’s” for Christian Community Development. One line stood out to me and framed my preparation for the day. Perkins says:
How can we claim to be loyal to Christ’s mission when we flee the mission field at our doorstep.
A couple of thoughts about this…One, we always think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s so much easier to be missional “over there.” Sometimes “over there” is the place we go on a “missions trip.” Sometimes it is the place where we volunteer. Sometimes it is even church. Often it is a form of escapism. It’s easier to go somewhere and get loved on by kids for a day than to deal with our cranky co-worker who makes fun of us for going to church on Sundays.
So, part of this is a call to see where we are: our workplace, our neighborhood, our campus, as our mission field. This is where we are, this is where we do life…live the Kingdom there!
Second, though, is this: sometimes we avoid going because we are comfortable where we are, it’s scary “over there”, the wrong people live over there, etc. So we hide out where we are to avoid getting messy. We hide out at church, in our small groups, and in our activities instead of actually getting to know people who are far from God who live next to us, who work with us, who sit in class alongside us.
So, part of this is a call to take a risk and move outside the walls of comfort.
I needed to hear this. Living in East Boston, it can be easy to see my “mission” field as the campus and the neighborhood simply as a place to live. It can be easy to get frustrated with people who just want to hang out with other people who look like them. I make excuses. I justify myself.
But I live in two worlds, the campus and the neighborhood, and I am called to live faithfully in both places. The kingdom is present and active in both places. Do I see it and do I join it? Not as much as I would like.
Saturday was a good reminder: do not flee the mission field at my doorstep.