13 Let mutual love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. 13 Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:1-2; 11-16)
I’m writing this on Ash Wednesday. Last year, outside of our church, we stood around fire pits sharing words of Jesus and life together, marking each other with the sign of the cross with ashes. It was a beautiful moment to celebrate our commonness with each other and with Jesus.
As I looked around the circle, I could not help but to look at the cars passing by the front of our church. I mentioned to my friend Troy, “what are they thinking when they see us?” At that moment, I was thankful for our community, but also thankful for the greater community happening all around us. Community with God and with others gives us hope that we bear all that we may experience in this life, and in the life to come.
God’s Presence is everywhere. And where God’s Presence is, community can spring up and flourish. Jesus demonstrated community by including those who were excluded, bringing persons in from the margins to the center of community life with God and others. Jesus was even crucified OUTSIDE the city gates of Jerusalem.
As we live our lives outside of the church walls, as we go “outside” where the drama of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection is happening every moment, let us worship God wherever we are in whatever we are doing, and even being. Let us also be mindful that God lives in us and through us and all around us, reconciling the world to God’s self, bringing community to all who have eyes and ears to see and hear!