So, I work at the UW. Sometimes I go out for walks. Well, okay. Every day I go out for a walk or two. It’s a good idea.
Usually there’s a vast mix of things going on at any given moment in Red Square. It’s a giant red bricked space that often features people trying to raise money for things, bros on skateboards and trick bikes, and students eating food. The students are also possibly walking in the rain/wind, or sitting comfortably on sun-warmed brick. It’s more often the former.
In and among all these differing fun people there are some more aggressive types:
There are the shouting “evangelists” (I use the quotations because the good news that this one guy typically brings seems far from good. It would seem that lots of people are going to hell, and he knows who.)
There are the charity folks. They badger you with all sorts of guilt to support children in the third world, donate to the red cross, and a variety of other activities. No matter what they may tell me, I am still not interested in giving random people on the street my credit card information. No matter how persistently they make me feel bad for avoiding drawn-out conversations that center on my failures as human.
Then there are the LDS elders. The Mormons are out there, especially when it’s sunny. They can be seen having intentional conversations with students with the book of Mormon firmly in hand. Students speak with them often. They’re always pleasantly aggressive . I’ve been told to have many a good day by Mormons that I’ve avoided having theological dialog with.
Like I said, they mostly come out with the sun…mostly. It’s a rare rainy day that finds Red Square complete with Mormons.
I walked into Red Square this morning to a strange sight. The Square was full of blue-vested international children guilt-trippers. They flanked every entrance. In the mix wandered Mormons. There were virtually no students. It was like a scene from the Borne Identity. I was Jason Bourne and I had wandered into a closely watched area. If they had wanted to all speak to me at once, they could have. I wouldn’t have been able to escape.
Thankfully, I was only briefly accosted by an LDS elder who asked me if I had more time would I like to come back and talk about God’s plan for my life. I told him no. I definitely don’t plan to go back and chat with him.
Still, I don’t always think about God’s plan for my life intentionally.
I think it’s important to remember that He does have stuff in store for me. Things to stretch me in love, patience, and mercy. A plan that is for my good, a plan that is as of yet mostly unknown. I have seen bits of it though. Train rides that lead from despondency and despair to hope and redemption, brokenness made beautiful, loving people to support me in and through difficult times. It has been good. Good is scary sometimes. It doesn’t mean that I get to control it. Blessings are given by God and then received by us. Seldom to we get any more control beyond choosing to accept what we’ve been given.
It’s foreign to me that God gives us such great things. I for one, often wonder if He is just oblivious to how broken and messy I am. I find myself scared that I’ve been given the things He has given me. It’s hard to remember that we don’t have to earn it.
My rejoinder to blessings is often, “Don’t you know how much I suck? Why are you giving this to me?”
I never find that His response is “You’re right. I was mistaken in blessing you.”
Blessings are showered upon us. Deserving or not (always not).
It would seem that in Christ, God is out to bless us. No matter what. His righteousness is our righteousness, His faithfulness is our faithfulness, His love is our love. We are called to participate and receive.
It would seem God can use suited, overly friendly LDS “missionaries” to remind you that you shouldn’t be afraid of choosing to receive blessings.
Just don’t let them talk you into that absurd nonsense about a lost tribe of Israel crossing the Pacific Ocean…