This afternoon I was standing in the back corner of the camp chapel, taking part in one last service in the old building before it gets torn down this week. It was kind of an amazing time. I’d expected a handful of people to show up in addition to the camp staff families. But instead, the place was packed out; the benches and chairs were full and a few of us were left standing. Afterwards, after dinner, Bill counted 120 plates that had been used.
During the service we sang a variety of songs that have been favorites over the years. One of the highlights for me today was Working the Road, a song from, I don’t know- the 70s? 80s? Earlier? I remember singing it as a camper in that chapel in the mid-80s, but I think it was popular long before that. The chorus goes like this:
Oh yes, I’m working the road, working the road
Helping the weak and blind
I want to smooth out the road
That leads to heaven’s abode
And make it easy for those behind.
If those words are unfamiliar to you, they may seem old-fashioned and even cheesy typed out on your screen. But if you had been standing where I was, in the Mennonite corner of the chapel, surrounded by beautiful, strong harmonies, you wouldn’t have laughed.
Earlier in the day, I had sat at a computer and typed all the words to this song for the song sheet that we printed out. Maybe it was the act of typing that made the words stick in my head in a new way.
It made me think: What if that’s what it’s really all about? What if this whole Christianity thing isn’t about me developing my relationship with Christ?
That can’t be the entire point of it. It’s too self-centered. I know it’s just a song, and I honestly don’t pull my theology from song lyrics. But Christianity has got to be about more than just me living right and getting to heaven. Maybe it really is about me making it easier for others to find truth and to walk in it.
And that’s not just a vague statement.
In the everyday world where I live, that means: me accepting people where they’re at without giving them any reason to feel like they’re being judged.
It means: me listening to people and hearing their stories before I start talking at them and telling them how things should be. (And believe me, I always know how things should be and what people should be doing to make their situations better. I try not to let it show, but I’m kind of a know-it-all.) 🙂
It means: me developing relationships with people and being real with them. (The first part of this one is hard for me, because I get so tired being around people; I’d rather just be left alone.)
It means: me living the kind of life that makes other people like to be around me, and want to develop a relationship with me.
And I think it also means: me being like Jesus, so other people want to be like me.
If I can really do all those things, there will be lives around me that are changed. Important conversations will happen. Someone will think deeply about something that might not have crossed their mind before.
I also believe that “working the road” looks just a little bit different for everybody, depending on your personality and your set of gifts. What does it look like for you?