“My hands feel sticky,” I said to Steve as I attempted in vain to wipe sugar residue from my fingers. I heard a few more voices mutter “Thank you” over the din of the crowded room. “Yeah,” Steve replied, “It gets everywhere.”
“Got any more creamer?” a gruff voice asked. “Is this sugar?” a second voice added. Over the ever-constant dull roar, we could hear an argument over nothing from across the room.
Organized chaos is the name of the game over at Grace United Methodist Church every Tuesday morning from 7:00-9:00 a.m. As FBC Greensboro’s summer youth intern, I have spent many mornings this summer with Steve and a few others from our church at the Arise breakfast at Grace. Our particular job is to make sure everyone who wants coffee has it. It is messy, loud, discombobulating, and chaotic. It is also what our Celtic Christian sisters and brothers termed, “A thin place.” It is where the distance between heaven and earth collapses.
I have experienced many of these places this summer. Hearing the uncontrollable laughter of a child during VBS, seeing the youth grow at Unidiversity, experiencing the beautiful voices heard at the All-State Youth Choir concert, and feeling the joy of a husband as a church stands and affirms the calling of his wife to be the new missions’ pastor. I will treasure the gifts First Baptist has given me throughout my time here this summer.
I have learned that ministry is messy. It can be loud, discombobulating, chaotic, and any other adjective for overwhelming you wish to name. However, it is in the midst of all these things that we see, hear, and feel the Kingdom. The Kingdom is here all around us; laughter, songs, tears, prayers, friendships, and community, all of these things are markers of the Kingdom. We just need to look and to see them for what they are.