Earlier this week I was in Texas attending a workshop that helps churches develop a vision and strategy for becoming a “missional” church. Within that two day intensive church staffs were charged with the task of creating a plan that allows them to look outside of their own walls and partner with civic leaders and non-profits who are about the redemptive work of the city. After a full day of placing our energy on strategic discussions and ideas, the architects of the workshop invited us to conclude our day around some good wine and hor d’oeurves.
After engaging a few conversations I had a moment to reflect and observe the room and that’s when I noticed the gentleman behind the catering table who was serving our wine. He was a middle aged Latino man and although I don’t know his story my imagination went its own way. So, I walked over to refill my glass and introduce myself. The look on his face led me to believe it was highly unusual that anyone would break away to interact with him.
I woke up this morning thinking about this wine server whose name just happened to be the common Spanish name, Jesus (pronounced Hay-soos). Among all the missional ideas mentioned throughout the two day event I had to laugh this morning as I remembered us all making a beeline toward the wine all the while likely overlooking the guy (image of God) behind the table who was serving it.
In the ancient Hebrew context, the Christ child was also given a very ordinary name. And he’d grow into a very ordinary occupation.
Beyond the hype and energies devoted to missional strategies, there remains the task of everyday simple recognition of the poor who are always with us. While we're immersed in figuring out how to be more missional Jesus is in the room inviting us to sip some wine. It’s in these very unhip and unimpressive moments that tend to leave the strongest impressions on us and those who are following us.
Unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. Lord, expand our vision and imagination to recognize and be blessed by the ordinary Christ child in our presence at this very moment.