by: Samuel Smith
cover image by @brenton_clarke
I’m sitting in a cafe in Georgetown, the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. And as I sit here and sip my flat white, I do what I often do when I’m out and about. I observe and listen. There’s something about slowing down and listening to a culture that gives us an unique insight into its heart and soul. And here’s what I learned about Georgetown; Despite its artistic vibe, it shares in common something that every other place in the world has. It is a place, filled with a people, who long for a purpose.
Over the years, as I’ve sat at cafes, walked neighborhoods, and sat around tables this simple, ancient truth has been a constant theme. We all desire a people, a place and a purpose.
No matter our creed, ethnicity, geographical location, age or gender, we long to be known, loved and accepted by a tribe of people. Alongside that longing, we desire a place where we frequent and feel comfortable to be our truest selves. And lastly we want a purpose -- to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Unfortunately, we live in a fragmented world where our stories are filled with broken people and places that stifle our original purpose. The result is two-fold -- chaos and separation. We see this tragedy start to unfold back in the beginning of humanity’s story, in a place called Eden, with a people named Adam and Eve. And there in the Garden, these people traded their God-given purpose for the chaos of self rather than true community lived in worship to their Creator. The resulting separation was and continues to be devastating. Things have never been the same since, and we too have played a role in the decline.
The good news is that the story didn’t stop with Adam and Eve and it doesn’t depend on us to fix it. Seriously, that’s really, really good news. That term, good news, can be translated “Gospel.” And the gospel is God. You see, God has a mission and that mission is to reconcile all the chaos that has ensued because of sin. God entered our story and became one of us in order to redeem what was lost in the Garden. Jesus, God’s Son who perfectly reflects who God is, left his home in Heaven and came to earth to restore a people, a place and our purpose through his life, death and resurrection. In other words, he came to return us to life in the Garden, a place where we can once again live out our purpose with a people in true community. And in order for true community with one another to be a reality, we must start here, with the gospel, with a God, who through communion with us restores communion with others.
So that’s where we find ourselves in the story. Peace is replacing chaos. Intimacy is replacing separation, and we who believe this good news get to join God as he renews all things! Stay with me (Sam Smith y’all), because in the next couple posts I will share the implications of this good news as it relates to our longing for a people, a place and a purpose.
Sam Smith (@samindecapolis) grew up on the East Coast, is a husband to Astaire, father of five, pastor/network leader for 10 years in downtown Chicago, co-founder of Folklore, Pastor of Missional Communities at Reach Church, a resident of Seattle, WA, and the West Coast Director for the Table Network.