Help others cross the street
Generations of us have been encouraged to help little old ladies cross the street.
And yes, to help someone in need is a good and right thing to do, regardless of age.
Now that we are a few days past Easter Sunday, I encourage little old ladies, men and others to help younger people cross the street. (I use the word ‘younger’ very loosely.)
“Crossing the street” isn’t language Christians use, but as Jesus twisted words into new and profound meaning (such as the first shall be last), the imagery of crossing the street—of helping others get to a place of safety—is a call Christians answer.
Recently, I read a social media post. My friend asked this open-ended question: What are your plans this weekend?
Someone from Germany answered, “I’ll be celebrating Easter with family.”
A reply to this post from a twentysomething in New Hampshire inspired this column. “I thought Easter was something only Americans did.”
Out of the mouth of babes? Or is this an indicator of a new age without religion?
Either way, what I see in congregations is what I imagine most of us see in congregations. Sure, young people are participating in worship. Entire worship services attract Gen Z, and I’m not just speaking to universities with chapels.
Since our nation was mentioned, would you like to guess what’s the median age at most mainline church services these days? Is it 25? 30? Or are most people who attend worship closer to or over 50?
I get it. You have been there, done that. You’ve tried. The neighbor. Your kids. Your grandkids. They may be nice enough about your invitation to join you in your church worship service, but it’s a no go.
So now what?
Help them cross the street. Be the person present to them in their situations. I don’t give license to pry, but I do encourage all of us to be very present to the lives of those around us. Someone has a new job. A teen just broke up with a first love. Someone outgoing has suddenly pulled back.
Opportunities for care are not hard to find.
Aha. Yes. You get it now. Help them cross the street.
We think slapping a Jesus sticker on someone’s forehead is our best approach, but, um, that’s not the best approach.
I have had my pitfalls, slides, and heart hurts. You have, too.
When you’re in a place of pain, do you accept gentle conversation and care, or reject it? Even the most extraverted among us may shy away from the public or even hide from the world, but soft, genuine care from someone who loves us? No one walks from that. In fact, we can walk toward it.
I get the evangelism push. We’re coming off Easter Sunday. Woohoo! That tomb is empty! Jesus is alive! Come to church! It’s awesome!
I also get the well-intended Christian get-em-in-the-door strategy which, honestly, isn’t working.
Someone you know needs love and care. (Actually, a handful of people in your world need love and care—and you may or may not even know them, yet.)
Help others get across the street. Walk with them. Talk with them in a way where it’s not your monologue but your love.
And the rest, as they say, will be history.
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