“I was practically dragged here,” she admitted. “I decided to come as a science experiment.”
It was my first Sunday at Lighthouse, and Jamie was telling me how she made her appearance nearly a year before. She dared anyone to raise an eyebrow at her tattoos and tough demeanor. “People don’t look at me and think ‘yeah, that girl loves Jesus.’ They think ‘where did that homeless chick come from?’”
Jamie had made peace with God, but she avoided church. “I thought all Christians were assholes,” she said. Quite frankly, I responded, many of them are. Lighthouse passed the test that day, and made it through a pop quiz the following week when a drunken man stumbled into the service. Instead of throwing him out or making judgmental comments, the church sat down with him, fed him some bread and water, and allowed him to speak.
I was the guest speaker that morning, but it was Jamie who was offering the good news to me. Here was a place that knew something about the Kingdom of God. I wonder how a little church that seems to have been forgotten by its district has been able to figure out what so many of us have missed.
I’ve been listening to a song by Dryve this afternoon. One of its lines has been haunting me: “And Jesus, with arms open, he receives us when we ain’t ready.” I wonder if we would be such assholes if we remembered that Jesus embraces us in our dirty, smelly drunkenness. Then again, that is probably why Jesus puts up with our “holier-than-thou” attitudes – we ARE in our dirty, smelly drunkenness.
This Sunday is my last scheduled day at Lighthouse, with the possibility of filling in again in late September. I hope I get to come back; I have a lot to learn from these folks.