A Blog Post by Kate Cross, Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator of Texas
I believe Jesus came to earth to walk among us, to be human, and to experience all the joys and pains of what it means to be human. By coming to Earth, Jesus experienced the bad and good things that will happen to us and those we love. All knowing, he still came to Earth to walk a mile in our sandals. To enter our homes, to be with us when our children are sick, when our loved ones die, and when we are fighting with our sister – and also when we are celebrating milestones in life with a little wine.
At Messy Church we show people God’s love when they come as they are, we need to see them as Jesus did – loved right now rather than loved for who they might be in the future. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another, it’s different though similar to sympathy – it’s not pity. It’s understanding where someone you know is coming from, seeing yourself in their shoes and showing up for them. It’s doing unto them what you would want if you were them. It’s showing kindness, it’s listening, and it’s making small gestures when someone is having a hard time or even just a time.
As I grow closer to the people I’ve met through Messy Church this rings true. So many people go through life surrounded by people, yet alone. Remembering things they told you were going on in their life the last month and following up – it makes us all feel a little less lonely. If they told you about it, it’s important to them. Checking in during the weeks between Messy Churches seems to mean so much to them. As best we can, do it in an organic way, free from ulterior motives. Don’t force yourself to say and do things that are unnatural for you, but take it a step further than saying nothing or the standard “if you need anything, just let me know” is being the body of Christ. We might not be able to heal their bodies but we can minister to their hearts and souls. We can offer prayer for rough times, but we must remember that we ourselves are how those prayers might be answered.
There’s also the times when we aren’t having a hard time, we’re just going through life. It’s true of everyone at Messy Church too. How can we start to befriend the new friends we meet in Messy Church and start to go through life together? It’s probably not that different from how you’ve met and grown with any of your other friends. It’s as Jesus did, allow them to enter our homes, go into their homes, take a walk or a coffee to chat, share some experiences, and to celebrate milestones in life with a little wine.
Kate Cross, Messy Church USA Regional Coordinator of Texas, Messy Church leader at Spring Branch Presbyterian, Houston, Texas
Blog post was partially inspired by the book There’s No Good Card For This by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell and, of course, the life of Christ.