It is such a pleasure to introduce to you this issue of The Cry. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my work with Word Made Flesh is that of seeing our lifestyle celebrations come to life through the stories of our folks around the world and the people with whom they do life together.
The work of Word Made Flesh celebrates simplicity as a privilege in our process of identifying with Jesus and the poor. In my own life over the past year, I have experienced God using simplicity to hone in my priorities and teach me how to increase my celebration of the riches I have in Jesus.
Roughly one year ago, my wife and I transitioned from a life of relative security to a simpler life. We moved from Louisville, KY to Wilmore, KY so that we could pursue ministry. (Both the work I do with Word Made Flesh, and additional non-profit work we do with disadvantaged youth and families locally.) With this move came many trade-offs. We traded our nice, downtown apartment home for a basement apartment meant for traveling missionaries. We traded well-paying jobs for work that paid less. We traded in that which we knew and felt stable for that which was unknown and lacked security.
And then I encountered the people and the stories of Word Made Flesh only to realize I had not “achieved” simplicity in the slightest, not when I compare my life in the U.S. and comforts of Christianity in the West to the lives lived out as told in the pages of this issue. It’s not a competition, of course, but what has become so clear is that there is nothing about our culture or our society at large that encourages or promotes in any way living simpler lives. We’re told to want more things, to achieve more; we learn to fill our lives with clutter and then wonder why we generally exist in such states of stress and overload.
This is not the Gospel we were called to. What we have found over the last year is that in celebrating greater simplicity in our lives we have experienced greater riches in Jesus. In His simple living, Jesus was filled with the Spirit of the Living God. He carried peace and was rich in mercy and compassion. As we join Him, He makes all of these things and much more available to us.
In our decluttering and quieting of our lives and hearts, we are better able to identify with who He is and what His heart is for the lost and broken.
Jesus came for the least of these, and He came to reconcile them back to the Father through His blood on the Cross. As I once was one of the least of these in spirit, it is so key, so important that we stand in solidarity with the least of these all across the world through our commitment to celebrating simplicity.
Jesus in Luke 10 instructs us to be like Mary, the sister that sat at her Lord’s feet. This was the good portion that no one could ever take from her, while Martha ran around anxiously making things more complex than they needed to be.
In this issue of The Cry, you’ll see folks who have spent much time at the feet of Jesus, so in love with how simple the Gospel is that they live and work to bring others to sit at Jesus’ feet with them. I pray that as you read these stories and stand with us in solidarity and identification with “the least of these,” you would be moved to examine the ways you can celebrate simplicity in your own life. I pray that in the process you’ll find rich peace and abundant grace.
Editor of The Cry