If you read our post from this morning you’ll recall that today’s sub theme on our trip was SEE… and yes, we did SEE a lot today. In the morning we challenged you to pay attention to what you saw today. Here is a list of just a few of the things WE saw today:
- a lot of people
- The Freedom Tower
- St. Paul’s Chapel
- Time Square
- People in need
- A giant inflatable ketchup bottle
- Lots of M&Ms
- Sponge Bob
- Nate throw $250 in the air
- Elmo in Time Square taking pictures on an iphone
- A mother playing and smiling with her son
- Break dancers
- A cemetery
- A dad carrying his daughter, her head resting on his shoulder as they made their way down the street
- Construction workers
- The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor
As I think about all of these things we saw today… the funny… the serious… the flat out ridiculous… I think about the question that titles First Trinity’s current sermon series: Can You See Him?
Some people may wonder what the touristy nature of our schedule today has to do with being on a “mission trip,” but today we had the chance to just walk around with our eyes wide open… seeing new things… and in them, yes, seeing Jesus.
Each day we’re using the time we’re on the train between NYC and Bronxville to debrief the day in some “train talk” discussion groups. A question from today’s discussions was, “Where did you see the church today?” Sharing these God-sightings was such a powerful way to end this first day… realizing that it’s not always about “going on a mission trip” but rather, BEING the church in our everyday lives, just like we witnessed it as we walked around NYC today.
To close, we wanted to share just a few of the stories of where we saw God/the church in action today and invite you to share your own in the comments!
- Some of our group members had the opportunity to give the extra snacks that they gave us at the UN to a double amputee in the street.
- At the UN we were able to be reminded about how big the Lutheran church really is, how they’re working in the UN, and hear about the impact they’re have on a global level.
- All of us agreed that we saw God/the Church in visiting St. Paul’s Chapel. One of the few buildings near the WTC unharmed in 9/11, it became a home base for rescue operations in the days and months after the attacks. Pews became beds and doctors office tables. Support flowed in from outside to make it possible to meet the needs of the workers while they met the needs of others. This church could have been concerned about itself, but in the midst of the chaos around them, they simply saw the needs around them and met it. THAT is the church!
- We saw and heard about people working in their gifts and passions to make an impact for Christ. From our guest speaker at the UN passionate about the church’s part in environmental issues, to another speaker’s passion for youth… from pictures of rescue workers working tirelessly in the days after 9/11 to cooks, counselors, massage therapists, doctors, nurses and more using their gifts to meet the needs of the rescue workers… from the pastor giving comfort in Christ to a child’s picture taped to the back of a church pew that a rescue worker was catching a few hours of sleep on… from musicians in the subway to waiters in restaurants… we witnessed the truth of God gifting us uniquely for a purpose.
Can you see Him? Can the world see His care and compassion, His determination and desire to impact, His ability to see needs and meet them. As we wrap up “SEE” day and head into “SERVE” and “SHARE” our prayer is that the city of NYC will SEE God in us, the Church.