Playdates with God: Notes from Jubilee

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It is indeed the paradox of hospitality that poverty makes a good host. Poverty is the inner disposition that allows us to take away our defenses and convert our enemies into friends. We can only perceive the stranger as an enemy as long as we have something to defend. But when we say, ‘Please enter—my house is your house, my joy is your joy, my sadness is your sadness, and my life is your life,’ we have nothing to defend, since we have nothing to lose but all to give.”~Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent

We never run out of things to talk about, my High Calling friends and I, and being together is a large part of why I drive four hours through the snow every year to attend the Jubilee conference. I never knew one could grow to love a people through the mysterious airspace of the online world but it’s happened to me, so when we have a chance to be together in the flesh it makes me happy. I’m not one who talks easy with others, never having learned that fine art, and being in large groups of people can make me uneasy, tired. But I have attended Jubilee long enough to have a sense of familiarity and adopt an air of deep affection for the usual suspects involved. Though I still tend to hang back and observe, each year I have felt more comfortable extending my hand to others, so in about ten years I should feel completely at home.

This year at Jubilee the theme was “this changes EVERYTHING.” The speakers talked about how the Gospel changes our lives, this world, even how it can change the church. There was an emphasis on cross-cultural issues, racial justice, and reconciliation that felt right and good. After one of the worship sets, I commented to Deidra on the diversity of the people leading us in song and we wondered aloud why the arts tend to be more integrated than other areas of life. Music. It is a language of love. When people are united in a common love, a common passion, it’s easier to open the heart and celebrate differences as gifts, I suppose. I wonder how, as Christians, we can let our shared love for Jesus do that in a better way out in the world. And the more we keep wondering together and talking about these things and letting love be our guide the more our talk will lead to wise action and the more hearts will become one. I want to be part of that conversation.

One thing we try to do at The High Calling during our retreats at Laity Lodge is extend outrageous hospitality to all present. This year, as I watched snow fall outside from the warmth of my hotel room, I realized this is a big part of Jubilee too. From Byron Borger (AKA “Double B”) taking a second to say hello to me in the midst of the busy setting up his bookstore to CCO President Dan Dupee taking a selfie with me as they waited for him to come up on stage at Jubilee Professional (I didn’t know), these folks live out the message they preach: Everything in this beautiful, broken world belongs to God and we are here to steward it well. There is only this very thin layer of skin separating us from touching, from claiming all that is holy. The Gospel does, indeed, change everything.

I am beginning to see that all this mingling, this reaching out to others—it is all an act of hospitality. When I make myself poor, abandon that fear of losing what I defend, I am easier in reaching out in freedom. And I see that, just as in scripture, the stranger brings to me so many precious gifts.

Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

Laura Boggess

 

Comments

  1. says

    Love the Henri Nouwen quote. Taking away our defenses many because my life is your life with all to give. Something to think deep on…thank you, Laura. PS Love the double heart glasses!

  2. says

    I’m glad you got a chance to be with your “High Calling” friends. I know that those kinds of conferences can really pump us up as bloggers and writers and Gospel-sharers! Your words inspire me every week as well as today as you’ve shared the heartbeat of the Jubilee conference. And I’m with you on the “only-can-take-so-much-crowd-time!” I’m assuming you’re an introvert like me (although I’ve sorta moved to the middle as I’ve gotten older), but it truly takes up a tremendous amount of energy to engage in that way for very long. Those extroverts are hanging out and getting their “cups” filled up while we introverts have cups with a hole in the bottom! 😉 Thanks for the linkup and encouragement!

  3. says

    “Everything in this beautiful, broken world belongs to God and we are here to steward it well. There is only this very thin layer of skin separating us from touching, from claiming all that is holy. The Gospel does, indeed, change everything.”

    “I am beginning to see that all this mingling, this reaching out to others—it is all an act of hospitality. When I make myself poor, abandon that fear of losing what I defend, I am easier in reaching out in freedom. And I see that, just as in scripture, the stranger brings to me so many precious gifts.”

    Wow, those are the thoughts that stuck. Oh how I have drifted. Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me. Thanks for sharing and thank the HighCalling people for their investment and hospitality!

  4. Lynn Morrissey says

    Laura, I love this–a jubilant jubilee celebration! Oh my! It sounds so incredible, so joyful. I really get what you are saying about being with people. I always feel like I am taking my life in my hands when I attend conferences where I don’t know anyone. I love people, but at heart, I’m a real introvert, so sometimes it takes me eons to feel comfortable. I went to Allume two years ago with great trepidation. I tried to get some friends to go, but it didn’t work out. And yet, I’m so glad I went, and I was amazed at how quickly I felt right at home. No doubt, it was because of the hospitality of people like you! it was a real highlight in my life. What I love about what you are doing at Laity, is that it is not done in a virtual vacuum. You are are investing in real-life, face-to-face, tete-a-tete relationships. It shows, and it shows in the writing on the website. And I love your racial reconciliation emphasis this time. That’s crucial if the Church is ever to be one in Him. I had to smile, though, about music. Yes, it is the language of love (and you well know my feelings having read my “singing” piece); but it can also be one of the biggest sources of conflict in the Church. I’m hardly trying to contradict you, but just nothing (no pun intended!) that it can be a source of division. But when your hearts are open and you’re wearing His hospitality out in the open as you all did, then music mingles souls! I’m so glad that this was your experience. Thanks for the great Nouwen quote by the way. And his book sounds like a great Lenten read.
    Love
    Lynn

    • says

      I hear you, Lynn. In fact, we’ve lived through an issue of division that arose from the music at church. But, I like where you end–when hearts are open and you’re wearing His hospitality out in the open–music mingles…Amen!

  5. says

    “adopt an air of deep affection for the usual suspects.” Ha! I never knew such close real relationships could be built online either–even with the usual suspects. Can’t wait to see you, and I suspect I’ll hug your neck.

  6. says

    Having nothing to defend–isn’t that the key to so many things? Back to what Jesus told us – die to self. Knowing what to do doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but still. So I love that theme that the gospel changes everything. Sounds like a beautiful retreat of hospitality and worship and love!

  7. says

    I love that “in about 10 years” you should feel completely at home. I love the grace in the recognition and acceptance of how God designed your roots grow – and that you are surrounded by people who allow your roots to grow at your God-designed speed – and that is God’s kind of hospitality. Just like the more we spend time with God, the more at home we feel with him.! Shalom, Laura!
    Maryleigh

  8. Sam Van Eman says

    So good to be there with you and the gang, Laura. What a special time. I slept in today and I hope you get the rest you need as well.

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