Some Missionals interact with neighbors first thing each day through gardening together or at the on-site dog park. Some interact with neighbors by hosting breakfast once a week or on a walk through the Village prior to going to work. Other Missionals must get kids ready for school and themselves ready for work, so they call neighbors by name, smile and wave “good morning” on their drive out of the Village.
During the middle of the day, Missionals find neighbors at work around the Village, many as part of MLF’s Community Works program—cutting grass, groundskeeping, cleaning common areas or producing “goodness” through a number of micro-enterprise opportunities. Depending on interest and availability, a Missional might volunteer in Genesis Gardens or the art house, pick up a prescription for a neighbor or offer a ride to the supermarket. Evening comes, and Missionals encounter neighbors at organized events, at the bus stop, checking the mailboxes or walking their dogs. Every visit is an opportunity to listen, encourage, affirm and deepen intentional relationships.
Clearly, there is not a simple list with a checkbox for all the things Missionals do. Missionals live prayerful, connected lives, and out of a spirit of gratitude, step up where needed, respond when the Spirit prompts and offer what they can to be of service.
Alan Graham offers a reflection on the painting by Caravaggio, “The Incredulity of Thomas.” (A depiction hangs in our sanctuary in Unity Hall.) In the painting, Jesus is lovingly guiding Thomas’ finger into the wound in His side (John 20:27), and Thomas is overwhelmed with humility and responds “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). When Alan unpacks his reflections on this painting, he shares that the wound represents the woundedness of the world—hatred, sickness, abuse, addiction, judgment, cruelty and homelessness. We are Thomas. Jesus is inviting each of us into the ugliness of that wound, and when we say “Yes,” our souls are moved and also utter: “My Lord and my God.” Being missional is allowing Jesus to lead us into that woundedness.