How big is your neighborhood? God calls us to love our neighbor, so this is an important question.
Jim Tebbe welcomed us to Urbana tonight. His short talk followed a poetry, hip-hop, tap-dance interpretation of John 1:1-5, 9-14.
He started off by telling us that why we came to Urbana doesn't have to matter, urging us to set our pre-made agendas aside and let God do what he wants to do. I found this particularly challenging. Task-oriented, comfortable running around, I find the idea of setting my agenda aside, putting my expectations on hold is tough.
Jim then moved on to a short teaching about God's mission: your neighborhood is much smaller/bigger than you think. This is one of Jim's big themes. Talk to him for just a little while and you'll hear this, this bigger/smaller awareness that he tries to pass along.
God's mission is tiny, next-door, to the person you talk to next, see next, would normally overlook. And God's mission is global, historical, cosmic, so much more than you can imagine that you'll look back on your life in awe five, ten years from now when you see where God has brought you, who he has connected you to.
Jim closed his talk with a warning: "You will be asked to say 'Yes' to God at Urbana...don't take that lightly."
Yes, Jim, let us take seriously our "yes'" to the God who calls us to love our neighbors, to the God who sends us to our neighbors, for our neighborhoods are much smaller and much bigger than we think.