What a great weekend! It’s almost surreal that Open House has come and gone. We had anticipated and planned for the day for many months.
120 people showed up to celebrate with us. Some came from our partnering churches and resource organization. Some responded to the postcard invitations we sent out into Uptown. Still others were friends who responded to various personal invitations.
The energy in the room was palpable.
We showed the new Storyline film, created by Patrick Cone, to kick off the morning. You can now see the film, as well as a new photo gallery, at the Storyline website.
Our framing story for the gathering was John 11:1-44, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. We talked about the way God through Jesus desires to bring resurrection and life into our present circumstances.
One of my favorite segments of the day was at the very end of the gathering — we invited representatives to the stage from eight area organizations who serve the Dallas community: Addison Rotary, Apartment Life, Center for Nonprofit Management, Central Dallas Ministries, Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce, North Texas Food Bank, SoupMobile and the Stewpot.
We committed to join them as they worked to “implement the resurrection of Jesus” in the city of Dallas. We told them we were proud of them and that we noticed the important work they were doing even if no one else did. Before we prayed for them, we read this blessing over them from N.T. Wright:
…What you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site. You are — strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself — accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God’s new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world — all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. (Surprised by Hope, p. 208 )
I had a God moment after I was scurrying around trying to get ready for the concluding prayer segment. Others in the room were participating in different stations — communion, journaling, conversation and prayer.
Then in the midst of my busyness, a friend who we’d invited to come to the gathering approached me. He was weeping. He had encountered God. We prayed together and shared a special moment. He’d never been to a Storyline gathering before.
It was clear to me in that moment that the Holy Spirit was powerfully at work in his heart. It was as if God took me by the shoulders and shook me a little bit, saying, “Don’t miss it!”
Enjoy a few pictures from the day: