God in the Alley

We attend a fairly large church- something around the 2,000 mark.  It means that it’s possible to walk through the swirl of between service bodies and not connect with someone familiar.  So Sunday I retreated to the church library, and despite my experience of past difficulties in remembering a church-borrowed book in the Sabbath rush to get out the door ( Why I normally just check through the 50 cent box of library discards- cause they don’t need returning.), I swiped three fairly recent looking books off a shelf- sans the help of a pair of glasses, and brought them home.

I hit pay dirt on the second.  This slim read of 130 pages is worth it.  It addresses being and seeing Jesus in a broken world, and is full of life stories from Toronto’s inner city.  It also has some good insights, and I quote:

“When I see that my brokenness, once acknowledged, becomes a place of meeting and an opportunity to dignify rather than dismiss or degrade others, I discover that my heart soars with the great hope that all my brokenness is ultimately redeemable in other ways . . . more than merely a series of painful experiences and personal failings to be survived; by the alchemy of grace, God will transmute it all into something of eternal value and beauty.

Suffering without meaning is the path to despair. Suffering with meaning is the trail to glory. And Jesus is the pioneer on that trail. There is no place we can go that he hasn’t been already.”

“It is a continual surprise that God is willing to pour his glory (“the glory of God in the face of Christ”) into a dusty, cracked-broken-jar of clay like me. It’s just as surprising when I see the glory leaking out through somebody else’s cracks. It’s so surprising that it’s easy to miss, easy to dispense with the ludicrous and faintly blasphemous notion that Jesus might be right here, right now.  Seeing is not necessarily believing. Sometimes it’s believing that allows me to see.”

God in the Alley, by Greg Paul, printed by Shaw Books.  Worth trolling your Church library for, or Amazon.


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