Now the company of prophets said to Elisha, “As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan…and build a place there for us to live.” But as one was felling a log, his ax-head fell into the water; he cried out, “Alas, master! It was borrowed!” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float.” - 2 Kings 6:1-2, 5-6 (NRSV)
It’s April 22nd, and we’ve just found out that the theater where we were going to worship in May is double-booked. This was our back-up spot, after the drag-themed bar we’ve been in added a Sunday matinee.
One week until we have nowhere to meet. And unlike Elisha’s cadre, building a tent beside the Chicago River is not an option.
But miraculous things can happen when spiritual communities are on the move.
Small, strange miracles, like finding the ax-head you lost in the river. (“It was borrowed!”)
Or a second phone call with the self-described “devout atheist” owner of an absolutely beautiful improv theater with a working sound system, all-gender restrooms, and plenty of chairs. After an initial rejection, a mutual friend has convinced her to reconsider.
A month in, one of the improvisers lets us know, “It’s a miracle you guys are here.”
And it certainly feels that way. A little breathing space, room to grow, and a lovely theater owner who wears her Jesus-riding-a-T-Rex t-shirt in our honor.
Thank you for people willing to take a chance. To lend their ax-heads or rent their theaters. For the ordinary and incredible kindness that makes life livable.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.