Rustlings (December 1, 2014)

George MacLeod died in 1991. He was founder of the Iona Community, reputably unconventional, and considered by many to be one of the most influential clergymen of the 20th Century. I never heard him speak. One small piece of his writings, however, has lingered in my heart for almost three decades. It is a short poem titled,”Return the Cross to Golgotha.”

I simply argue that the cross be raised again
at the center of the marketplace
as well as on the steeple of the church.

I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles;
But on a cross between two thieves: on a town garbage heap;
at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write
His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek.

And at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about.
And that is where Christ’s men ought to be,
and what church people ought to be about.

On Wednesday evening, December 17, First Baptist Church Greenville is taking – not the cross – but the manger to Main Street. Rather than enjoying MidWeek Fellowship within the walls of our building, we have reserved NOMA Square (the outdoor stage and patio area at the Hyatt Regency on the corner of Beattie and Main Streets) as the site of our gathering. We are encouraging church members to shop at Ten Thousand Villages that evening (just across the street), enjoy food and fellowship at one of the downtown local restaurants of your choice, and be at the NOMA stage at 6:30. You’ll hear some great Christmas music presented by the members of FBCG. We’re calling it First on Main. It’s our gift to the downtown community. It’s one small way to share our joy and faith with God’s world. I’ll see you downtown…as we return the manger to the crowded marketplace…

– Jim