“Long live the bread, long live the wine, long live the mother who gave me life!”
Altean men danced the streets, carrying a giant tree–and with it, years of (largely unremembered) tradition made new with jugs of sweet sangria, lively chants, drumbeats, brotherly affection, and the widespread ripping of each others’ shirts (see them tied to the tree below!).
Yet the celebrations consisted of far more than Altean men erecting a big tree in the city square: streets were washed with wine and water dumped from the balconies, the progeny of many generations threw their sins into bonfires and jumped over them, and the masses jumped into the Mediterranean at midnight. Such was the festival of San Joan!
We’re taking the pulse of the people here in beautiful Altea through festivals and daily life alike; they spend time eating food, seeking connection, drinking life deeply, taking siestas, expressing their lively hearts… We’re sitting in cafes and our hearts are increasingly longing to connect with the Spaniards. Our hearts are longing to be in relationship with them.
We’re learning how to live missionally in a real-life way. Organically. We knew that the gospel was creative, flexible, and affirming of the Spanish culture–we set out to honor it. But really, we’re realizing that God meets each of us “Edgies” where we are, in a way that makes sense to us. The outpouring and longing and compassion always starts with God’s love in our own hearts. We’re learning how to receive the love, patience, and kindness of our Daddy. So much Christian talk is external, action-focused, but our Father is much more interested in making us FULL first. That fullness is going to attract people, not a flimsy external evangelism.
We’re learning to love each other.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13:34-35 MSG
That’s really all we have to do, is to draw from the well of life and love deeply, live largely and listen to where Holy Spirit calls us… This is so pleasing and non-“religious”! We love living life! This isn’t new age imperialism, we aren’t here to “impart” or “fix”. We’re here to ENJOY our lives, take hold of the restorative promises God has for his people, to keep love central– as it was always meant to be– and to let our lives speak.
We have received this fullness in this first week and are learning to give it to others by practicing patience, sensitivity, and respecting the lifeblood, the pace and passion of the Spaniards. We are free to invite them to an art night, we buy produce at the local market, and most of us have a certain affinity for a favorite coffee drink with a local barista. We’re meeting the Spanish people in a way that makes the most sense to them.
The Spaniards ask what we are doing here, and we tell them that we are here to live together, to do art, to learn about the city and people of Altea, and to love. And if an American supporter back home asked what we were doing, we would say the same thing. We are here to love. We’re not here to transmit secret spiritual concepts. We operate this way because love is quite simply the foundation of who we are. Love changes people. Love is for relationship and joy, not “salvation”. It saves us from thinking that we are here to save. We can’t believe there are no strings attached and that God created us to live lives so exciting and full!! There’s no fine print! Just the love of God and the longing for genuine relationship. Love brings people to Jesus.
There’s a simmering murmur coming from the shopkeepers and the market owners, the waiters and waitresses, the artists and tourists– “Those Americans aren’t just kids! They’re kids with a purpose.” People are beginning to notice our kindness and the way we love each other. They notice our patience and appreciation. Our lives are vibrant enough to take notice.
Edge Project is about realizing that God would care so much for each of us that he would send us halfway across the world just to do something in our hearts.
Edge Project is about realizing it’s less and more about us than we ever thought.
Edge Project is about literally just living love, no strings attached. It’s about receiving the powerful patience and grace of God hand letting our lives speak, not our religiosity.
Edge Project is about honoring the Spanish culture–the traditions, the patterns of living, the language.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”
Romans 12:1-3 MSG
Our eyes are beginning to lock a little longer, our words of love fly a little freer, our affection a little less inhibited. We’re experiencing the lightness and wellbeing of simple living, noticing all the ways God is loving us and the people around us in the seemingly mundane.