There are many things I love about the city. I love the diversity of people. I love the movement of the trains and buses. I love the hustle and bustle. I love the city streets. And I love the entertainment found on many sidewalks.
The corner of 7th and H in Chinatown attracts a myriad of performers. There is a man who plays the "drums" -- any cylinder form he can find -- to the delight of my ears throughout the summer months, allowing me to hear his beat several blocks away. There is a preacher who shouts words of hell, fire and damnation that I usually ignore. There are several guitarists who strum to their heart's delight. And, there is a man who plays an electric keyboard as he sings along.
The man with the keyboard has a mediocre voice. He has no backup band or flashy clothing. He does not attract a large group of people outside of CVS. He does, however, have vision.
The other day I was waiting to cross the street on my way to the gym when he announced with a speaker, "Thank you for coming. The next show will start in five minutes. Please hang tight for five minutes."
I cannot imagine anyone waiting five minutes for the start of the "show." I did not happen to see anyone sticking around instead of crossing the street. I did see, however, several people smiling at his words.
The man has vision. He visualizes a day when people will gather around to here him sing. When people will stick around for the start of the next show. When his group of fans will grow. When he will sing not on a street corner but on a stage. And, the man inspires me, reminding me of how important it is have a vision.
I, too, have a vision. I envision a church that is constantly looking at itself to see who is missing. I envision a church where people are more excited about leaving the doors of the church, taking the light out into the city, instead of keeping the light of Christ locked inside. I envision a church of old and young, rich and poor, black and white, brown and tan, educated and uneducated, city dwellers and suburban retirees, full and empty. I envision a church that is convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ still has the power to transform lives and a church that sees this transformation on a regular basis. I envision a church where people gather often -- for coffee and conversation, for worship and Bible study, for ministry on the streets and in the city, for music and dancing, for games and play, for exercise and activity, for the pure privilege of encountering Jesus Christ in a myriad of people and places.
While it is not a performance, we do have singing, and music, and laughter, and conversation. We'll pass a plate though you do not have to put anything in it. You'll hopefully leave with a smile on your face. The next service starts on Sunday at 11:00. You'll find us on the corner of 9th and Mass.