Mack's Minute November 6, 2019

In reading a book* for class, I recently learned about something common in the African-American tradition: porch sits. In the evenings people would gather around on someone’s porch, and everyone was free to discuss hard topics and complain about their life. The amazing thing about these porch sits was that everyone was welcome. In the book, the author describes the porch sits in his neighborhood at Ms. Carolyn’s house. He and his wife would walk by and see people gathered with cookies and lemonade. They were always invited to have a seat on the porch. After a few months, he and his wife finally decided to join. And it was life changing. Here, peopled gathered, regardless of race, and were able to freely share about their life and form relationships. The author suggests that this a part of doing church.
In the story of Zacchaeus, he wants to see Jesus so badly that he climbs a tree, something no adult should do. And then Jesus invites him down. And says “I’m going to your house. We’re going to sit together and have dinner. I don’t care that you are a chief tax collector, someone who has stolen money from people countless times.” Zacchaeus didn’t have to come down, he could have stayed in the tree and watched, but he chose to join Jesus. It didn’t matter the sins he had committed, Jesus wanted to sit and talk with him, much to the dismay of the people around him.

Jesus continues to invite us today to come down from where we are looking, and to join other people. This invitation is much like the invitation the author of the book received from Ms. Carolyn. As Christians, we are invited to sit and talk with one another, regardless of social, economic, or political location. And we are called to invite others to join us in an ever growing circle. That is a part of doing church; meeting people and getting to know their life and their struggles, inside and out of the church building.
*Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathon Hartgrove-Wilson