It’s amazing to me that Oceanview with its yellow walls, people smoking cigarettes on the porch outside, and constant flow of individuals crossing the road to grab a soda at our beach chairs have become such a profound image of the love of God. Wednesday night, we went over for worship. The Oceanview employees put up streamers and bought cupcakes to celebrate what this was. It was simply us being with them and choosing to see them for who they are – image bearers of our God. They told us that the residents had been asking when we were coming over so often that they made posters with the Taylor logo announcing the “spring breaker’s” arrival. A parade of Oceanviewers streamed into our front room where we waited to sing and dance with them. Jesus loves me, amazing grace, I will dance in the river. As silly as it was to watch and sing and get pink cupcake icing all over our faces, I could feel we were entering something profound. It was ridiculous and fun, but my question became, how could this be so simple and yet seem to touch something so vast? Nicki brought his tambourine, Vincent sat thoughtfully to the side and smiled wide, Pat sat quietly singing in the back, Eric clapped through tears of joy. Being with them, your heart overflows.
Amongst mental illness and poverty there is so much fear. If I were walking by on a normal day I would have honestly been fearful, but perfect love casts out all fear. We were there because of Jesus, and there was no fear in that room.
I wanted to articulate this idea somehow, and only barely did it justice. We continue to embarrassingly walk up to high school students and families and people who are homeless around Daytona and get blown away by how much people need to be seen and how powerfully God moves. We will sit one more day with Carnal and Vincent and Larry and Justin and Sheryl and John and sip sodas and know that we love them, and if we love them how much MORE does the Lord. He has shown us his faithfulness and our team feels challenged on something much bigger than us – the tender love of Jesus. As today is our last day, pray for the finishing conversations, the small moments, and the unity forming in this sweet team. This is a special group of people and this is a brave, counter-cultural, hard to explain, yet way-to- simple thing we are doing here.