E and I spent the day in downtown Seattle with some out-of-towners. E was designated 'tour-guide', and did so with her usual grace and Beve-like steadiness, winding up hills, through traffic, in and out of crowds with the aplomb that she wears as easily as she wears her Converse tennies. And she was equally graceful and articulate when these out-of-towners asked her questions--both off and in-front of a camera--about her life, her future, just who on earth she is, because though these men didn't know her, God does, and it's all connected to why these visitors are in Seattle this week. It was a lovely to be out in the Emerald City, lovely to show off the waterfront, the men throwing fish (even straight into a camera lens)at Pike Place Market, and at the top of Space Needle.
But as I implied, these three men, Kyle, John and Rich, weren't just tourists. They met E about a month ago when she was traipsing (er, road-tripping) around the east, a grad. student with a couple of profs, writing what stories they fell into. Articles which would be posted on a U of W/Seattle Times blog. And one of the stories E stumbled into (if you believe in such stumbling, which I surely do not!) was a massive swarm of blue t-shirted folks in Asheville, North Carolina. She and her prof asked a few questions about what was up with all the shirts, and were directed to a particular man--Kyle Martin. Kyle spent about ten minutes with E just before he went up to speak. She told me this morning that while he was talking to her, worship was happening. ("Wow," I said. "Didn't that make you want to join in?" E was so often part of worship teams in high school and college. But she said she was concentrating on listening to him.)
My point is--worship. Yes, WORSHIP. You see, the event--the seven-day (but months of prayer and preparation and more prayer) event--was called "Revive Asheville." E and her profs had wandered into a revival--of a pretty cool sort, with all kinds of community involvement, and paying attention to what that city needs, and...well, real participation with that city and the Body there. It's powerful stuff. On E's end, what came out of that conversation with Kyle and John (Mr. all-things research!), was, of course, a story written by E about Revive Asheville, and the Non-profit organization Time To Revive that is behind this movement.
And E's story is why those men came to Seattle a mere month later. Her article.
How does this all happen?
E and her story, her gentle way of asking questions and steady listening (and her not-insignificant writing skills) were used by God as an invitation--a call?-- for a team of people from this organization to come to Seattle to 'test' the waters of our lovely Puget Sound, see the green of our trees and the snow of our mountains, but most of all, to see the people, listen to their stories, walk the streets with them and see what God might be doing in front of them.
So E and I walked with them. Stopped with them. Waited when they stopped to talk to ferry workers, restaurant workers. Waited and watched. I watched how it looks to be heard by someone really interested in an answer. I looked at this place through the eyes of people looking at it with hearts open to it in the ways of the gospel--to intersect with humans where they live and work and play and need.
And I loved it. It opened my eyes too. To dream dreams, as the scriptures say, to see visions. To hope.
While they were standing at the top of the Space Needle I was sunning myself among a diverse population of people who didn't only stare at the fountain but actively engaged with everyone else engaging in the water. There was laughter at men caught by a spray, applause at a well-run weave through it. I've sat there before when almost nothing was going on, but today, that fountain was a living being, drawing people in. It was like the village square where people came to gather--to sit and share a bit of lunch, gossip a bit, get to know their neighbors--sharing good news, perhaps.
So I thought of those three men up in the clouds with my daughter praying about revival in this city, praying about how that might look, what it might mean...and I could see it in that fountain. I could see people drawn to a fountain that is a literal thing and discover a FOUNTAIN who is the REAL thing.
It was a privilege to walk those steps with them today. To imagine this place as they see it, to envision what might be.
For me, for this day, it was enough to sit there and pray and imagine and be thankful.
Yes, to be thankful to have spent this day in the company of people so bent on Kingdom work.