The Great Outdoors...

The other evening, we returned to our apartment after a busy day, to discover that our street had been transformed into the scene of a party!

Huw Williams | 21:01, Wednesday, 27 September 2011

Many of the local shops, coffee bars and eateries had obtained permission to close the street and put on a Festa – part street party and part showcase for their businesses. Via Cibrario had been transformed from a busy thoroughfare into a scene of fairground rides, dancers, food stalls and - right outside our window – a stage booming a live performance from a very enthusiastic (if sometimes musically dubious) local singer at ear-shattering volume levels. 

The old adage is of course, if you cant beat 'em, join 'em, and as we sat in our living room, and it became clear that the vocal enthusiasm of the afore-mentioned singer was only to be matched by the seemingly limitless power of his PA system, it also became clear that perhaps the best response was to venture forth. Having done so, it turned out that we had a delightful time on the transformed street. The party atmosphere seemed to have taken hold of everyone present, and at every stop we were offered a warm welcome and patient encouragement in our stuttering attempts at communication. 

It felt like a bookmark for our first few weeks in Turin. It's so easy as foreigners to be tempted to withdraw, to remain in the safe confines of a home where no-one is going to speak to you in a language you don't understand. But when you do venture out, you always seem to be so glad you did; the triumph of managing to do even the mundane can be quite exhilarating, you've made yourself understood (even if it is with a million grammatical errors), and people are actually very pleased to see you try, rather than TALK LOUDLY AND SLOWLY IN ENGLISH AND POINT.

Over this time, I've been preparing sermons and Bible Studies for the church in Philippians. And as I've been mulling these events over, I've also been mulling over these words:-

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8)

Jesus' love is our example, our guiding principle in mission. Here is someone who really knows what it is to venture out, to set His comforts aside, to leave the glory of heaven to humble Himself, even to death on a cross for our our sake. We ventured out to enjoy a street party, He ventured out to be rejected and killed for the good of those people who rejected him. Let's pray that His love would compel us all to get out there with the good news of the gospel, who knows what joys he might have waiting for us, when we do?

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