Most all of us have been to church before.
Some of us, again and again. And so, church can become common.
But occasionally, when we’re paying close attention to what God is doing, it turns into something else entirely. Something very uncommon.
This was not just another day at church.
I arrive at church a few minutes before it starts. Several seats are already taken.
I walk to the back and an older gentleman says, “Hi.”
We shake hands, and I say, “I’m Lisa.” He tells me his name—Walter—then suggests we take seats together.
Although it is my first day attending Outdoor Church, Walt obviously is an old-timer. He knows how to welcome visitors.
It is a hot morning with little breeze. Walt asks if Jenna and I would like some cold water. Before we can answer, he hops up, cane in hand, and brings back two bottles of water.
Walt tells me he is singing at today’s service. He likes to sing. “For the glory of God,” he says.
I already believe him.
The service begins. My new friend Walt knows the words to all the songs. Now it’s time for his a capella solo.
Can he sing?
Oh, yes, he can sing!
Afterward, Walt sits back down. He leans over to me, and grins, “Didn’t I do it?”
Oh, yes, Walter Baby Love, you did it.
He says he has a name like that for a reason. Now I understand.
After the sermon, I get in line for communion with Walter Baby Love and other poor and homeless brothers and sisters gathered on the hot asphalt. Maybe some don’t understand—can’t understand—but many do.
We hold the bread, dip it in juice, and take it in.
I take it in.
And take it in. And take it in.
This is kingdom living.
- Sounds of praise
- Goodness of Jesus
- Grace for all
Jeff is grilling when we round the corner after church is over. He and other volunteers from Manna House serve a feast of burgers, hot dogs, and all the fixings for the guests.
The kingdom has indeed come.
It is right here. I’m glad to be in it.
And I’m glad brothers like Walter Baby Love are in it, too.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
That day happened in 2012.
My uncommon friend Walt has since passed on. We were able to worship together several times after that day, whether at Outdoor Church, in an elevator with other friends, or on the balcony of his apartment.
I still miss Walter Baby Love. He was an uncommon man. I’ve never met anyone else exactly like him.
And when I hear someone praising God with extra vigor and intention, I miss him the most.
Here are our three questions of the day:
(1) What’s the most unusual church you’ve attended?
(2) Is there a song that gets you every time?
(3) When have you had an uncommon day with God at church or outside of church?
* * *
What are your answers? Please share in the comments.
(1) Outdoor Church is probably the most unique and unpredictable church I go to.
(2) Even though it’s been played a lot, “Reckless Love“ still wrecks me every single time I hear it.
(3) Watching Jenna’s 1st graders paint and sing worship music in the background.
- Ordinary Day, Extraordinary Story
It was an ordinary day when little Aleesa met Walt. But it would lead to an extraordinary story. And book.
- Meet Travis 1. Meet Travis 2.
I met two new friends, both named Travis. One was a pastor; one was homeless. What did they have in common?
- You’ll Always Get a Refill
The wind blew. The grape juice spilled on the ground. But grace comes with free refills.
revised from the archives
- Take the Shortcut? – Day 22 of Handmade
- You Know Enough Already – Day 24 of Handmade