The Home Depot Parking Lot
We're going to accept Pastor Larry Dove's invitation from Sunday and spend some time this morning prayerfully imagining the crowd gathered around Jesus in the small but packed scene below. It's a beautiful illustration of how Jesus centers the margins - how he creates welcome in the wilderness, inviting people who don't seem to belong together into "beloved community," if only they're willing to move away from the illusions of safety and control other centers of power seem to offer.
We'll read the passage three times, taking a few minutes each time to sit quietly with Jesus and use all of our senses to imaginatively enter the story:
- Reading #1: Imagine this scene in its actual Middle Eastern setting. Wander in your mind from group to group and picture actual faces and actual needs for healing. What do you see, hear, smell, feel?
- Reading #2: Now do the same thing, but move the scene into the here and now, in the Home Depot parking lot on Cherry, after Jesus and his disciples have come down from Signal Hill. Who's gathered around Jesus now?
- Reading #3: Where are you in the crowd? How do you feel about being there with all these people? What are you bringing to Jesus for healing, and how does his energy meet you?
"Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem [the traditional religious types], and even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon ["different" people, "not from around here"]. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments [so sick and differently abled people were gathered, too]. Those disturbed by evil spirits [perhaps mentally ill or spiritually unsettled] were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed!" - Luke 6:17-19 (The Message)
Spend a final minute or two talking with Jesus about what you experienced; release yourself into his love.