“I’ve never been to church, love.” Skye calls everybody love. She’s a twenty-six year old military wife who works at the coffee shop I basically lived at during my PhD writing. Since this virus has almost shut them down, I sneak out every now and then to give the shop some business. And since there’s no customers, I’ve been able to have longer conversations with the folks who work there, like Skye.
It’s given me a lot of chances to live what I think is the answer to a simple question, “If Jesus came to our city today, where would he go and who would he enjoy spending time with?” (OK, so I’ve modified it a bit…“If Jesus lived in our city today and was under stay-at-home orders, where would he go when he couldn’t stand being inside anymore?”) In the gospels it’s impossible to miss how often Jesus went directly to where irreligious people were, and how many of them really liked being around him. So I figured if Jesus were in our city these past two months, he’d sneak out to the coffee shop.
“Skye, sometime I want to ask you three questions. What words would you use to describe church? What about Christians? And what words for Jesus? Because there’s a few of us who are going to start getting together when this virus thing is done and we’re going to talk about Jesus, not church or Christianity…” Skye didn’t hesitate. “Sure, love. I’m open.” Of course, right then two other folks came in and Skye had to get busy with their orders and a delivery that arrived.
It’s been a weird eight weeks at home and we’re all getting a bit antsy. My girls are here finishing their college semesters. My youngest son decided to arm wrestle a tree branch 20’ up and lost, resulting in a plunge to the ground and a broken shoulder. I killed a two foot snake that crawled out of our bathroom cabinet as one of the kids was in the bathroom. Fortunately, when I need a little quiet, I can go into our popup camper (which I’ve set up about two feet from our backdoor like a hillbilly sunroom) and get work done.
Obviously I’m not traveling overseas yet because of covid. Each week I get some word from Africa or Asia or Europe. Even remote villages are under government orders to stay at home. One friend in Kenya is a nurse who texted “It is confusing to people. People are without drink water and government has ordered to teach them how to wash hands so they don’t get virus!” In Europe, a friend’s church to Muslim refugees was shut down by the government but continues to give bags of food to families. Amidst it all, we continue working on post-virus plans, identifying places that would be good for training in Uganda, Congo, Myanmar, and the refugee city once this virus lifts.
Until then, I’ll continue going to the coffee shop, because that’s where I think Jesus would go when he needed to get out of his hillbilly sunroom. And I’m sure he loves hearing the words Skye said to me when I told her I’d talk more with her next time. “I’d like that, love.”