What is your context, the circumstances that form the setting for your life? Look around you. Who are the people who live next door? Who are the people who work on the floor beneath yours? What are the education levels, races, economic statuses, jobs around you? And what would it mean if you got out of your context?
Think about Ruth, and how much her context changed when she followed Naomi to Israel, when she said, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.”
I’m preaching at First Baptist, Highland Avenue tomorrow at their noon service. Talk about a different context! This service is a mid-day service, and the congregation is mostly African-American, some broke folks, some wealthier folks, some regular church members, some visitors. Not my usual context. I come from a mostly White, upper middle class, highly educated congregation.
And yet, I think I’m preaching the same sermon tomorrow that I will preach on Sunday morning. Rather, I’m “testing out” my sermon for Sunday at First Baptist, Highland Avenue.
It’s mostly because I believe our context changed on Election Day. The context of “White liberals” changed. And, honestly, it changed into a context that is more like the one at First Baptist—the fears that my congregation is facing, our Black brothers and sisters have faced for years. Perhaps, for many of them, most of their lives.
I’m praying a lot before this church service tomorrow. First Baptist has a lesson to teach me, and I’m praying I’m open to receive it.
TODAY’S ADVENT ACTION: Draw a picture in your mind of your context. Think about your work, home, and social life. What is your context? And if you want to step out of your context, how would you do it?