|A six-person team from Knoxville spent time in Boston this summer volunteering at a Sports Camp VBS to support Christ the King/Jamaica Plain – Roxbury, a church plant partner we’ve posted about in the past. Here’s what a few of the team members experienced as they shared their hearts with Boston and worked alongside church planters Logan and Melissa Keck.
Not surprisingly, real life experiences are often the best for making God’s living and active Word come to life. In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” and He replies, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (verses 26-40).
The truth Jesus shared in Matthew 22 resonates greatly with what I saw, felt, learned, and experienced in Boston. Church planters, Logan and Melissa, have incredible servant hearts, but their hearts are equally matched with a love for the gospel; delving into the Word; and meeting people where they are…while also moving them forward. Church planting is an interesting endeavor; the planters become experts on the area and on theology, but also in love. What a powerful combination.
Witnessing people coming alongside their neighbors with such intentionality was incredibly moving. The forethought in decisions and the cognizance in the mundane were both evident. Loving God and loving our neighbors is a wholly possessing commitment, not a side job. Doing this requires sacrifice. Though it’s not on an ugly, wooden cross, as church planters, the Kecks (and so many in their congregation) have sacrificed their entire lives for the gospel of Christ, that others would know Him and that He would be glorified. While not costing their physical lives, it has cost the life that they may have been envisioned and, in this truth, John 15:13 is truly being played out: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
While we all know the greatest commands, they shake your world when you see them truly lived out. My trip to Boston did that for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to witness the love of Christ moving in Boston, even if only for a few days.
Driving down the streets of Boston it feels as though history is whispering an old story to me at every corner and is etched in the red bricks of nearly every building. The city is saturated with it and I feel the profound weight of it around me. History has sat and watched the changes over the centuries. Where signs and flags once declared independence, rights, and calls for repentance now stand signs and flags asking for and offering peace and acceptance for every belief, orientation, and thought. They are hung from porch stoops and church doorways alike. It seems that the city is desperate for peace and unity. It is crying out for everything to be okay. It permeates the culture and it seems to groan with the ache of it. Boston is hungry for everything to be made right and so the message proclaimed at every turn is, “Come as your are; stay as you are.” What an incredibly empty gospel that would be!
One of the most impactful aspects of our time in Boston for me was the clarity with which I could see the true hope I have in Jesus and the urgency and need I felt for it to be shared. While we were in the city working alongside the Kecks, we visited a mosque. The woman who gave us a tour shared about her faith. She said two things that have continued to weigh on my mind. First, when I asked her what she thought of grace and what place grace had in the Islamic faith she responded after a thoughtful pause by saying, “Grace isn’t really a part of our faith. We believe that God is merciful and he shows his mercy by giving us things to go through.” Second, she said that she lives in a constant state of both fear and hope. Again, what an incredibly empty gospel that would be.
The harvest is ripe, but the workers are few. People everywhere are hungry for the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They are seeking for everything to be made right, and we have the good news that through Jesus all has been made right. Let us be quick to share the hope of salvation that we have received!