Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. Jeremiah 9:12
The group of men and women became silent when the last couple picked this as their cornerstone of hope verse for 2013. Breakthrough is harder for people who have lost everything, and in some ways it is easier. The couple are missionaries who came back to Colorado Springs during the Waldo Canyon fire. They lost their home but they gined some freedom at the same time. "Losing everything can be freeing" the husband says, and his wife nods in agreement and adds, "We gained perspective. We may have lost photos and mementos but we did not lose the memories that went along with raising our family, our marriage, and our calling." In some ways they felt that they were prisoners of a different kind, and that they have truly been risen from the ashes. "Not everyone we talk to feel this way. "There is bitterness", on the block. In some ways our coming back to survey and take care of our loss, has become a mission field for this couple. " If we keep perspective and we maintain an attitude in hoping in the Lord, we are perhaps ministering to our neighbors.
Building and rebuilding community
The lesson is not lost on a builder who is part of the Breakthrough group. His work for Habitat for Humanity and other ministries, rebuilding and building homes in Haiti spoke to him as he traveled to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. "Rebuilding community meant getting to work and not blaming the system, the politicians and the neighbors. Everyone was in the same boat, so to speak, and became closer by helping to bolster one another, encourage one another." "Legalism divides community. People keep to themselves and they don't get involved. Legalism makes it hard for people to 'love the lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and your neighbor as you would like to be loved." The community that breaks through the privacy statements, that brings landlords; investors; residents and tenants all to the table to help one another, gets through the red tape in times of trouble. "We need to sign more waivers, have more associations and get involve in each others lives," the builder says.
The Big Picture
Regardless who you are; how much money you make or don't make, the big picture continues that a culture and community built on love includes people who are willing to be transparent with one another. "In order to get to real change," the Breakthrough group's conclusion is that as people in the community we have to develop a "correctable spirit," in order to rise to the challenges life gives us. "Fires and storms happen," the missionary said. "the way we handle the fire-storms and loss are based on changing our minds and hearts." One of the law enforcement members chimed in, "This goes for most issues that include marriage; that includes gun control, right to life and developing policy locally and globally." That means freeing the prisoners and communicating hope in hopeless times.
Front Range Prayer
The musician in the Breakthrough 2013 begins to strum and pick a guitar. Leading praise on a prayer walk from Colfax and Emerson to the base of the State Capitol. He begins to sing: “Your world as an orchard- this town needing nurturing- Dead branches for the pruning, painful yet- there’s room for growing.” When Stevie Nicks sang that “I built my world around you,” there is a sense of classic co-dependency in the lyric and heard in her voice. A sad statement until you apply it to God. If we build our world around God it is building a world with a foundation of hope. “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word,” the psalmist writes and the musician leads (Psalm 119:74). After the prayer walk the group meandered to The Denver Art Museum. Walking up to the fourth floor the exhibit of African art displays ‘People as Driftwood.” Not to over spiritual-ize the analogy and yet discussing the idea that God’s people are often compared to branches and trees that reach out to a hurting world. “I am the vine, you are the branches, all those who live in me, will bear great fruit,” John 15:5 communicates giving, growth and guiding growth. Driftwood is dead wood, scattered, divided, and sold into slavery, out of fellowship, out of friendship. The breakthrough question is: “How can we restore driftwood back to life?’” The artistic, creative approach was to take driftwood and put them into community. The artist collects driftwood used to make new musical instruments used for worship! Bruce Cockburn sang that “Dying trees still- will grow greener when you pray.” Hope for driftwood is praying Psalm 42: “Why are you so downcast, O my soul! Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, For I will yet praise Him-my Savior and my God!”