Monday, September 26, 2011

the prom

I wish I could say we came up with the idea, but we didn’t. But we sure have enjoyed putting our spin on it. For years the Prom has been a seriously big party for adults with special needs. It’s that simple. And it all happens this Friday.

It’s a funny thing about us Christians: we may talk about being outcasts. Aliens. Sojourners. Peculiar people. Strangers. Those are all Biblical and theological metaphors for those who have taken the advice of Saint Peter in Acts 2: “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” (Acts 2:40 Message Version). The man certainly had a way with words.

And by the way, notice in this account that the prescriptive admonition wasn’t a “fire escape”; it wasn’t about hell. It was about escaping from the pathetically miniscule and inward-focused philosophical approaches of this world, the me-first, performance-based, dog-eat-dog ways of thinking about life…the cultural mandates that shape us into narcissistic social-capital consumers, far and away from God’s design. As C. S. Lewis famously remarked:

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

It reads in Acts that about three thousand people got baptized and joined this new little sect of Judaism that claimed to have found the messiah. And about seventy generations later, there are still people claiming to escape their cultural malaise by following the Risen God-Man, Jesus.

And so we’re labeled outcasts. Aliens. Strangers in a strange land. We relate to that because of the light-year distance of our ethics, ideals, motivations and beliefs from the average carbon-based biped caught up in the current zeitgeist. We become different. We think and react differently. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But what if you were marked in ways that signaled obvious physical and social differences from the norm?

At our original Prom event, one woman told me it was the first time in her life to go somewhere where people didn’t stare at her. Can you imagine a lifetime of that? It’s one thing to feel different; it’s another to know you are recognizably different in ways that others tend to react with pity…or indifference…or condescension…or with a clumsy discomfort. For us spiritual and moral sojourners, marked differently because of the infusion of the Holy Spirit, it should be the most supernaturally natural thing to love and create space for those who must feel like disaffected strangers because of physical and social limitations. It expresses the God who longs for a community, the Father who “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6).

It’s never too late to volunteer, from simple cleanup duties…to pre-event being an escort for someone to help make sure they experience everything the Prom has to offer. Just click here...

Come join the party Friday night. It could seriously change your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment