Places where we encounter Jesus...
We are going to spend the next four weeks understanding what sociologists call “third places.” Third places are where people gather to do live together that is not home or work. During Jesus’ day one of the most common of these was the well, the place where the entire community came together, out of necessity, and could share information, news, and build relationships.
“The third place is a generic designation for a great variety
of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal,
and happily anticipated gathering of individuals beyond
the realms of home and work...” The Great Good Place
As a southerner I was completely fascinated by our visit to Erie and the idea of neighborhood pubs and restaurants. In the middle of neighborhoods, surrounded by homes on every side, with virtually no parking, are gathering places.
We encounter Jesus where we are…
Jesus went to the pool where the sick were. He hung out at third places…the market, the seashore, the well, the pool…
Consistently Jesus goes to where the people are, he does not expect them to come to him. It is the difference between the mystic and the messenger. The mystic sits up high on a mountain that you have to climb to gain the ancient wisdom, the messenger goes to the center of the community and shouts the news.
We encounter Jesus when we have given up…hope seems lost.
For thirty years he had waited to be healed. From his response you can tell that he had given up hope. He had quit throwing pennies into the well.
We encounter Jesu he requires something of us…there is a decision to be made. All relationships have a cost.
“Do you want to get well?” This question sounds ridiculous, but isn’t it because some of us have become so used to our sickness that to be well would require more than we want to give. Did you notice the man did not answer the question?
Lessons we need to learn:
Being Jesus people requires that we:
1. Go where the people are.
a. The day of putting up a steeple, ringing a bell, and opening the doors as the primary means of connecting with community are over.
b. 61% of people who were active in a local church in their youth, leave in their twenties never to return.
c. We can go through our day and never encounter Jesus.
d. We can’t wait for people to come here.
2. Share hope with those who have lost hope.
a. Hope grows when you give it away.
3. Live the change in us without expecting it to live in them until they encounter Jesus.Have you ever noticed that Jesus did not require anything of those he healed before he healed them?