Friday, November 23, 2007

The Kingdom is advancing, one "fist pound" at a time

A few weeks ago, Will Dungee (a friend and a pastor at my church) and I went prayer walking in a part of Glenwood that had been hopping with drugs and recent violence (someone had been robbed and then shot and killed at a convenience store in that area). Our hope was to pray over the neighborhood and also to talk with folks there and ask them how we could pray for them and see where the Lord might take it from there. Eventually we happened upon “Rick”, who was hanging out with a couple of other guys and appeared to be concluding some sort of deal involving either bootleg CD’s, drugs, or both. I suggested we go talk to him, and Will agreed, and so I practically ran up to "Rick" (I didn’t know him at that point) while Will walked much more coolly behind me. We struck up a conversation, during which we learned that his mom was an evangelist, that he wouldn’t consider himself a Christian because of how he was living, that he had been shot at least once, and that he figured that each of us is supposed to be the best we can be at what we are doing – if you are a Christian, be the best one you can be; if you are a dealer, be the best one that you can be (seriously). We asked him how we might pray for him, and he said just to ask God to let him live another day (which honestly seemed pretty generic), and so we did that and went on our way. I wasn’t sure I would see him again, especially since my prayer walks in Soflo (South Florida Street) were not a regular part of my week.

About a week or two later I was walking my dog Joe around the block and was passing by a different convenience store that is notorious for shady folks hanging around outside. As I passed by a car parked on the street, I look in and who do I see but "Rick" ! So I stopped and we did the whole “fist pound” thing (if you’re not from the ‘hood like me, you might not be as hip as me on that {sarcasm}). The first time we met, "Rick" had guessed that I didn’t live in Glenwood, and so on this meeting, I asked him what he was doing in my part of the ‘hood (neither of us took me seriously as I said that). Then I told him that it looked like God did answer prayers. He looked confused for a moment, and I reminded him that we had prayed that God would let him see another day, and well, here he was. He smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s right,” and I could tell that something flickered inside, the part of him that was created to know God and connect to Him.

That was the extent of our conversation, and as I walked away, I couldn’t help but think that I had just taken part in a Kingdom moment. Will and I meeting "Rick" had transformed him in my eyes. I normally would have ignored him, not even noticed him on my walk with Joe, or just dismissed him as a punk dealer. But because I had a relationship with "Rick", I saw him that day, and so we talked again. I think it also transformed me in his eyes. He normally would have ignored me, once he saw I wasn’t interested in buying, not even noticing me on my walk, dismissing me as a rich white guy. But because he knew me on some level, he saw me, and so we talked again.

The kingdom is advancing, one "fist pound" at a time.


Ashleigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashleigh said...

(Sorry, this comment is actually the same as the original-- I just wanted to check the follow-up comment box.)

I don't know how to express my agreement about that whole "flicker" thing... but I see it.

I see that with Michael and Keanna and a woman on my hall and some of my LGBTQ-identified friends. I see their need for Jesus and I see Jesus working in them. It's simultaneously achey and beautiful.

It's always a such a cool, special thing to experience, connecting with God's heart for someone else.