I was driving down the Broad Street on Sunday when all of a sudden I had to pull over abruptly in the center “parking lane.” My friends, Forest and Ben were playing guitars in front of the library at Broad and Morris! It was a beautiful morning and these beautiful people were making some beautiful music in Circle of Hope Broad and Washington’s beautiful neighborhood. I made a video of it.
Happening upon them where I found them was really cool because we had just been there the Sunday before at the AMPM (the morning Public Meeting designed to include children and family. We played games, ate snacks and told stories in DeSilvestro Playground (behind the libray). Here’s another video of Tracey and Moses telling a story about peace making goats in English and Runyankole (from Uganda).
Circle of Hope is getting out on the street in new ways. This is one example of our public joy. Those who read my blog know that I stand outside of our space at 1125 S. Broad Street a few mornings a week and say “hi” to people. A couple of weeks ago I met with a guy who was in a tough spot. I listened to him tell his story of active drug addiction and childhood abuse calmly and also unreservedly. By unreservedly I mean I didn’t hold my tongue. When he asked someone if he could buy a cigarette I said, “Are you crazy? You just told me you have $11 to your name and you’re buying cigarettes?” He laughed. Later in our conversation he got someone to give him one and as he puffed he asked me, “Man, are you high?”
“What? Why do you think I’m high?”
“I dunno, you’re just so like peaceful and calm. You’re funny man. I’m telling you all this stuff and you keep listening.”
“No man, I’m not high, that’s just the peace of Jesus.”
That’s what we’re doing, friends. That’s what Jesus is offering: Peace in the midst of crazy, uncomfortable stories and joy all over the place–the kind of peace that get’s noticed if we give Jesus the opportunity to get out in public by getting us on the street, especially right in our neighborhood and it’s “Main Street”, South Broad Street.