Editor’s Note: For our Ordinary Time Devotional series, you will be hearing entirely from young authors. They will be sharing their perspectives on the theme, “God is in the streets.” Enjoy reading how the next generation of emerging GCI leaders experiences God outside the walls of the Sunday church gathering.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:9-10 NRSV
If Jesus only held Sunday service, the Samaritan woman in John 4 would not have encountered him on her daily routine of drawing water from the well. Jesus spread his love and his message almost exclusively to those marginalized by society, like the Samaritans were. Those marginalized—almost by definition—didn’t gather in the temples, in the city centers, or in public.
Jesus made it clear. If you practiced religion exclusively in the traditional religious gathering spaces, you were absent from most of the miracles Jesus was performing and the message of love he was spreading.
How then, after more than 2,000 years, have we come to act as if Sunday worship is the highest form of spiritual expression? It seems as though we have learned no lessons from our past. Jesus says “go,” but we’ve stayed put for many years.
Lord, help us reach those marginalized by our society.
Help us reach those experiencing homelessness—giving them spare change so they may get through another day.
Help us reach those struggling with their faith in humanity—giving people the benefit of the doubt whenever they ask for help.
Help us reach those experiencing loneliness—taking time out of our day to make conversation with our families, neighbors, and coworkers.
Help us “go” and be like you. Amen.