We Blew Up a Birthday, God was Pleased
This Saturday I was at Elevate Detroit’s barbecue in Pontiac.
If you didn’t know, basically Elevate Detroit just starts barbecues in communities in order to create events and spaces for neighbors to meet each other, churches to serve together and community to grow. Pontiac is the location that I work with the most since I am going to be moving there soon and starting M6C. It tends to be lower-income, mostly former blue-collar workers who have been laid off from any one of the many factories that used to be here, but that’s a different story.
The barbecue was going well. We had plenty of food and the kids were playing on the giant inflatable slide that Kensington brings out for each event. People were standing around talking, a lot of us were playing with kids. It was a good time.
People were beginning to leave and we were starting to run out of food. We were clearing off tables and discussing taking down the slide—another great barbecue accomplished. About that time, two cars pulled up and parked on either side of the park. One was a family with a few young kids. It seems like eight people climbed out of the small car and looked around a little confused. You could tell they were surveying what we were doing in the park and weren’t sure what to do. But eventually the dad reached in the car and pulled out two balloons and a foil pan: they were having a birthday party in the park. It was obvious they weren’t expecting a huge crowd to be in the park at the same time. They skirted the park and headed toward a vacant picnic table.
The second car was a woman in a beautiful red formal dress. She explained that she had some food, but wasn’t able to stay since she was on her way to her neighbor’s Confirmation ceremony. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with any more food since we were starting to pack things up, but I told her I would take it off her hands. We walked to the car and there, in the back seat, was a birthday cake.
“Is this for the confirmation?” I asked.
“No, that’s for the barbecue.” She said, handing it to me.
I took the cake and walked over to the family that had just walked up. “Are you here for a birthday?”
“Yeah,” they said, “Do you need us to leave?”
“No, not at all.” I said. “Actually I was going to see if we could share anything with you?”
“How do you mean?” the mother asked.
“Well, it seems like you’re having a birthday, and I happen to have a giant birthday cake, a couple cases of pop and a giant inflatable slide if you’re interested.” The little birthday girl’s eyes lit up. She had been surveying the fun on the slide since they pulled up.
“Can I?” she whispered. Mom nodded and the little girl was off.
I brought over the cake, the cases of pop and extra plates, napkins, silverware and other party necessities. Before they knew it their table was full. The girl enjoyed a couple of turns on the giant slide before we had to pack it away and I hope had a better birthday because of it.
I love that God is a party guy.
Often you hear people make jokes about God at a party or Jesus wearing a tuxedo t-shirt. Usually it is in jest, but I think there is some truth to that. God likes a party. You’ll recall it was Jesus who brought the wine to the wedding, God said he wanted a big band playing in his house (the Temple) and Jesus hosted a 5,000 person fish fry.
The bible also says that when the Kingdom is spread on earth, there is a party in Heaven. That means that when I give a guy a ride, when you help a friend in need, or when a little girl’s birthday party gets a shot in the arm from a group of strangers in the park, God is partying in Heaven.
I want to live a life that continues to expand the kingdom on earth, which will continue the party in heaven.