The forecast was gloomy. No matter how many times we checked again as the day approached, and no matter how many different sources we looked to for a better-sounding prediction, they all joined their voices to promise an overcast day of rain and showers and thunder and lightning. Ugh.
God, grant us
the serenity to accept the things we cannot change…
This event was intended to be a fundraiser for our community, New Jerusalem Now, which Sister Margaret has aptly described as “mostly fragile potential.” By mid-morning on Saturday, the paper streamers in our yard were melting in the rain, revealing the mostly fragile potential of most of our best-laid plans.
We find ourselves, along with so many others, confronted with an economic situation which threatens each of us and our community with the possibility of closing our doors completely. The financial position of New Jerusalem Now is dire. Grants are harder to come by, donations are down. The forecast is gloomy. And yet, we felt like throwing a party anyways.
…the courage to change the things we can…
In the weeks leading up to the event, we sensed God nudging us towards a deeper understanding of the potential hidden within the occasion. This was more than just a fundraiser, or at least it could be, if we let it. Not only was it an opportunity for us to be and become community in a more meaningful way, but at a deeper level it represented the decision to embrace celebration and abundance and Jubilee in a season increasingly plagued by penny-pinching survivalism.
We find in God an absurd kind of abundance, a ridiculous overflow, like water gushing out of a rock in the middle of the desert. There is an extravagance which defies all sound financial advice. It’s like a full-blown Ponzi scheme, in reverse. God is throwing a preposterous party, and we keep getting lavish invitations. But for us, the party —and the battle—begin within. We cannot change the weather, but we can change our attitude towards it.
…and the wisdom to know the difference.
Two days before the event the forecast was fairly certain, and so were we. We chose to open the (flood)gates, rain or shine, and have a party anyways. We chose that particular brand of madness that dances in the face of disaster and looks to embrace God in reality, even when doing so means muddy shoes and soggy trousers.
We knew that those who came to see us in the rain would be heavenly angels sent just for us, and that we would have plenty of food to offer them. At one point in the planning, we had actually worried about being able to feed everyone who might show up. But God conspired to provide an overabundance for each person there, and the Spirit was abundant, too.
God’s will—not ours—be done.
What followed was one of the more memorable days in the recent life of New Jerusalem. It was wet and wild. We had mudslides and mochas; a DJ and a deluge; a farmer’s market and a silent auction; a beautiful, ragtag choir transforming the familiar into the extraordinary; an impromptu aria sung by two lovely young ladies; lots of smiles, lots of hugs, lots of laughs; and some of the best food ever offered on God’s green earth.
As we let go of our expectations and the way we thought it should look, we were able to move into the wondrous designs of a good God who really knows how to party, and how to provide. The event didn’t resolve our financial crisis, but it helped in the healing of that impoverished spiritual condition which is life detached from the Truest Source. And we are grateful.
Bouncing off each other under the shelter of our tents, the sun was rising, and the moon and the stars, God and all Her angels, too. We were all packed in there together, eating, moving with the music and laughing—at the weather, at the economy, at ourselves, and at every other thing that seems, for a moment, to foil God’s intention to get down.
And we got down.
Postscript ~ It’s not too late for you to share in the abundance. For those of you who wanted to come but couldn’t, we are still happily accepting donations for our community and for our mission to serve the sick and suffering addicts of our society. We invite you to partner with us in our holy tomfoolery, and support us in our work for the recovery of our world. Checks can be sent to our mailing address, or you can check out our so-so-easy online contribution method by clicking on the “support” button at the top of this page.
Much love and many blessings, your friends at NJN.
For more photos, visit this LINK.