Who would have thought something as simple as a piece of cardboard could make such a profound and lasting impression on so many people?
That quote came across my desk just following something we called “Cardboard Stories,” at our Easter service on April 4th 2010. It was inspired by the homeless. For nearly ten minutes, people walked across our stage holding up a piece of cardboard simply telling their story, “Then…and now.” The raw and honest retelling of the Resurrection story replaced masks of “Happy Easter,” with transparent “Hope for Easter.” The connection of Calvary, Christ, and cardboard. Good stuff.
Oddly, that year I asked a few of my homeless friends, some of who slept on the doorsteps of the church, to help me find cardboard for us to write our stories on.They were happy to. In some cases we wrote our stories on their cardboard. Imagine that. God connected a bunch of churched, changed, saints, sinners, alcoholics, adulterers, prodigals, princes and paupers with some homeless friends outside the church walls to make cardboard a commodity.
As a constant reminder to me, those pieces of cardboard still sit there quietly, behind the stage, 30 feet from where they boldly shouted the audacious message…Christ changes things. He still does my friend.
This story isn’t over. The absence this Easter of “Cardboard Stories,” on our stage and “Stories with Cardboard,” on our steps simply means the next sentence is being written. “His-story,” could never be fully written on a piece of cardboard. My friend, yours can’t either. His pen is moving, a page is turning, and His plan unfolding. For you, your family, and for the church. The best chapters are yet to come. Skip to the back of the book and read the ending if you need to, but don’t give up. I’ve felt like it lately…and maybe you have too. But you and I have a blog to write…a story to tell.
Visiting the local soup kitchen yesterday, I saw some of the men and women who used to sleep on their cardboard on the steps of our church, and I realized their stories are still unfolding. Returning to church I ran across a number of other folks, who once held cardboard signs also, but now face a new set of life’s difficulties. This is precisely where the grace and power of God work best. Welcome to the place of common ground, where grace abounds. We all need mercy…in this story.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. The Lord your God is with you and will never leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
“Fix your eyes on Jesus. The author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:2