Tuesday, January 04, 2005

On the Bus

I was on the bus yesterday, going home from work. It was one of those miserable rainy Michigan winter days. Depressing, and by 5:30, dark as midnight. I hadn't seen the driver for months. I hadn't been to work for months, and I was glad to see him. He bears a striking resemblence to my brother, Steve. I loved him for that alone, in the way that you instantly love some people because they are comforting and familiar. But I'd never talked to him.

I said, Hi, and Happy New Year, and he smiled that wide, Steve smile, and said something like, "I'm still here." And then exploded in a big, booming laugh that bounced like a child's ball around the bus. I laughed with him, amazed at his sudden openness to me.

I sat near the back of the bus, no matter that Rosa Parks made it acceptable for me to sit closer. I was in my usual, dreamy state, thinking about Jesus, and about how he took the posture of a slave to wash his disciples feet. How amazing is that? Jesus, washing feet.

At some point, I realized that I am blind. I have new bifocals that I'm still adjusting to. I went to the front of the bus so I could make sure I'd actually see my stop, and that's when I heard my brother's look-a-like, preaching the Word.

Now this was a pleasant surprise. I started listening, to see how he'd represent Jesus. And what I heard made me feel so sad. The man he spoke to looked like a brother who had taken a few too many beat downs. Having endured smack down after smack down myself, he had my sympathy. At some point, they talked about celebrities who are Christians, and how they are still rump shakin' and money makin' and we ain't seeing too much Jesus. That's true. Think, Beyonce, and Britney Spears, but I remember being a young woman, getting my first whiff of my womanhood, and I'll be honest, if I looked (and could dance) like Beyonce, I might be shakin' my booty to get the admiration of the world, too. Not to mention MONEY.

I wish I'd said something full of salt and light to that brother who wanted to be a new creature in Christ, but didn't think he looked like one. Steve clone had said something about the rapper Mase, and I said something about that, instead of, hey brother, God is Big, Infinite, and Love. You don't really have to clean yourself up to get to God. He washes feet, and believe me, those feet back in the day were not the pampered feet of modern times.

Forgive me, Lord. I had grace, and kept it to myself.

Don't we all fall in the dark? Movie stars, rappers, mailmen, and afterschool program workers. I wish someone had told me before Brennan Manning that God is HERE, and I can't outsin His big, big grace. I wish I'd told my brother that Jesus is hard to get rid of. He loves HARD, and is tenacious as Mike Tyson in the ring, biting off ears because He's worried about feeding his children. He's more tenacious than that.

God in the darkness? It's called Unconditional Love, or simply GRACE. Don't forget that. It'll get you through many a bad day. And here's another thing, Jesus knows how to bring His beloved to her knees, I don't care how "crazy in love" she is, or how stank her videos are becoming. (lyrics quoted without Beyonce's permission).

God is really so much bigger than our capacity to sin. He really is. I don't say that as a license for you to act a fool. I'm just saying, He didn't send Jesus to beat us down, but to bring us to His kingdom. He's awfully good at it, too.

Give him your feet.

In love and grace,


upwords said...

Umph, his laughter bounced around the bus like a child's ball. I bounced right with it. Well after all our foot washing conversations, you know I'm feeling this. Hard. Don't beat yourself up for not stopping somebody for beating somebody else up (sounds funny doesn't it). Like you said, Jesus is a heavyweight. We pray in Jesus' name, that God will go and get that man who thinks he's KO'd. As usual, this is good, filling stuff.


Geo said...

You my sister are right on the spot!

Peace to you in this New Year

Larry said...

Bus time, prayer time, I've been there. I tried riding the motorcycle to work one day after having ridden the bus for a year or so, and couldn't stand it. I had to pay attention to drivers instead of being able to discuss things with God.

Sticking up for God calls for timing. I do so sometimes, but other times I just keep quiet. I wonder if perhaps it's the Holy Spirit who moves me to speak at times, and when he doesn't move me natural reticence keeps me quiet.

Sometimes people say something that I can't let pass. One guy in our life group called the Holy Spirit "It" and I just couldn't take that, not after His intimate touch in my life.

Many times, though, people just aren't listening. God has to soften their hearts. Somehow. Look at how long it took God to get my attention, and to start believing that He is something other than the guy with the whip living in the sky. Years and years and years. I hope the man on the bus gets the message faster than I did.