Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reflection on the StreetFest Theme 2010

“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
‘Your God reigns!"
The theme for StreetFest this year is “Beautiful Feet” which is derived from the verse Isaiah 52:7. The passage describes the beauty of the feet of those who proclaim peace, bring good tidings, proclaim salvation, and praise the reign of God. The theme “Beautiful feet” was chosen for two reasons. First, we wish to urge students to develop beautiful feet, by proclaiming good news and working towards peace in their communities. And second, and more importantly, urging the students to recognize and show gratitude towards the people in the Grand Rapids community who have beautiful feet.
People with beautiful feet are those who have a willing heart and have taken action in pursuing service to their community. These people are walking in the mud of a community garden, the cement slabs of a city block or the overgrown grasses of abandoned homes. People with beautiful feet are those who work in the desolate areas, the developing and the crowded areas of the world.
People with beautiful feet see the potential of neighbors gathering in the community garden to plant fruits and vegetables, see the cement slabs of city blocks as canvases for local artist and children to draw on, and see the community pulling its resources together to revitalize overgrown grasses of abandoned homes.
We hope that StreetFest students will catch a glimpse of people with Beautiful Feet and see the harmony of Grand Rapids communities, so that they may be inspired to recognize their place in this community and develop beautiful feet of their own.
We at Calvin College’s Service-Learning Center thank all of the organizations of Grand for your commitment to service and to the beautification of the city of Grand Rapids, we thank you for seeing this world as redeemable and taking steps to bring about peace. You have beautiful feet.
Christina Crider

Friday, July 9, 2010

When the Kings Come Marching In

Each summer, the S-LC staff is sent out with a collection of carefully selected texts to tuck under their arm and read in between camp sessions, in the airport on a layover, on the beach, or wherever their adventures may take them. I've been diving into the summer reader primarily on the Rapid to and from work. We hope that by reading some of these passages, the staff will be provoked to new thoughts, brilliant insights, and critical reflection.

I just finished reading several chapters by Richard Mouw. Re-reading these passages took me back to my days as a member of the S-LC student staff when the campus focused on Isaiah 60 for an interim, and our staff read and discussed "When the Kings Come Marching In."

Mouw draws the reader in to a rich and complex theology, that I think at the time was pretty groundbreaking for me. I think that this is one of those cases wherein I've been cultivated to understand theology from a certain (perhaps narrow) perspective, and when presented by an alternative I'm initially resistant. "What do you mean, Mr. Mouw, when you say that Christ's redemptive act on the Cross was for more than my individual soul (and the individual souls of all the elect)?"

I recall a degree of grappling with this idea, considering how it would impact my broader understanding of the world, of myself, of God. Eventually these words from Mouw, along with others, started to make sense. And now having accepted what at the time seemed like a radical shift in my worldview, this idea of God's love for the cosmos, for all of human culture, and for each human person comes naturally to me.

In fact, now as I read and engage with Scripture I wonder how I could have ever understood things another way. God's all encompassing love for and redemption of creation is reinforced everywhere I turn, and this is exciting! Each action and choice is now infused with meaning where before they may have been hollow or merely perfunctory.

Embracing this theology is at once overwhelming and relieving: God's intention for the New City is so vast, and so beautiful, and so far from the present experience and yet we can rest in knowing that in God's time it will be fulfilled regardless of our human efforts.

Come Lord Jesus!