I remember Mark, a student leader in another campus ministry telling me of his friendship with Jewish students on the campus we then served. One spring break their ministry sent a team of staff and students to Jerusalem for a university sponsored tour of Israel. They came back raving about the beauty and sites they saw, the people they met, the food they sampled, and the rich heritage and history they heard about that added so much to their experience. One reason for such a response was the tour guide, Ben.
Imagine the surprise of my friend when the Jewish rabbi announced a group of students from Israel was coming to our campus on a reciprocal visit later that fall, and the bonus was that Ben would be traveling with this group.
Mark informed me of this development as we shared lunch one day. He then blurted out, “What can I show them in Boston that compares to what we saw in Israel?”
I replied, “Are you kidding? You could take them on The Freedom Trail and tell the story of the American Revolution.” Mark replied, “Yea, but they showed us part of the Exodus route that Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt.”
“You could take them to the top of the Prudential building and see the metro Boston area for miles in every direction.” Mark replied, “But Ben took us up to the top of Mount Carmel where Elijah stood his ground, and we saw the Valley of Armageddon.”
“You could head over to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and gain an appreciation for the rich musical heritage of the city.” Mark said, “Sure, but we heard Jews singing songs of God’s provision and deliverance as they recalled the Red Sea crossing.”
“You could stop by the cemetery next to Park Street Church on the Boston Common, read the tombstones, and think about the price that was paid for the victory over the British Empire.” Mark replied, “But Ben told us the story of a people and a nation that has been fighting for their survival for centuries.”
Then it came to Mark as he sipped his coffee. “Hey, wait a minute, Mike. It’s not where I live, but who lives in me that matters most, right? Sure, Ben showed us places where the Spirit of God came upon prophets and kings in the Old Testament. He even showed us the seaport city of Caesarea where the Holy Spirit first came to the early Gentile Christians in Acts 10. But Ben does not know where the Spirit resides now, right? And that’s what we can really show Ben if the opportunity presents itself.”
Mark left excited about reflecting the reality of the Spirit of God, and living in the power of Christ’s resurrection. He was reminded that people like Ben needed to see people who experienced the peace and joy the Spirit provides as it overflows to others in acts of love.
But Ben isn’t the only one who needs to see and hear the evidence of God’s work in your life: Friends, family, professors, roommates, co-workers and bosses are all desperate to see people whose lives reveal the dwelling presence of God. Live communally. People need to see Jesus in you. What can you do this week to become that kind of person?
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz