By Corey Bullock, Ahwatukee Campus Pastor
Do you remember your prom? Some of you would have to honestly answer ‘No’. If, however, you were not an adolescent delinquent, then think back those many years ago and recall the theme of the event. Can you hear the prom song? Do you remember the excitement you felt when you picked your date up in your parent’s nice car? Do you remember the significance of this event?
I happened to be one of the few, the proud, the 4-time attender of the high school prom. Call me Mr. Popular or maybe Mr. Available in a small rural school, but I got the privilege of going all four years. Honestly, the first two were far better than the latter ones, but that’s for another story. The prom was and is for many a key rite of passage. It is a significant event that we looked on with anticipation. For some, it was a first official date. For others it was the culmination of those many hours of dancing in their bed room mirror. It was for me the biggest party that had ever been thrown in my honor.
Whether or not you have fond memories or not-so-fond memories, you have to admit that the prom was a monumental party.
Did you know that Jesus told us to throw monumental parties! That’s right; the same guy who turned water into wine likes parties. And when we throw a party we should invite people that sometimes get left out. We realize that too often our neighbors with special needs get overlooked for that invite. Many of those with disabilities, especially those who are of the older demographic, never got to experience the prom like we did. Who is throwing these guys a party of significance in their honor?
Answer – We are! It’s called the Jesus Prom.
We are certainly not the first. You might have caught a headline recently where Tim Tebow and company just threw a similar event on the East coast. The idea originated with a guy named Brewster McLeod who saw a need that no one else was meeting. His heart for the ragamuffin and overlooked compelled him to gather some other like-minded Jesus-followers and start throwing parties for people with special needs. Over 15 years ago, he launched the first monumental party and called it the Jesus Prom in reference to a passage in Luke 14.
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Proms are staring to pop up all around the country and it’s about time that we make this available here in Phoenix. We are throwing massive party for our friends with disabilities and you are invited. Whether you have a special need and would like to attend as our guest or you would like to volunteer, you will need to get registered for this event by following this link www.centralaz.com/jesusprom. The event is Friday, March 20 from 6:30-9:30pm at the Foothills Golf Club in Ahwatukee.
The hope is that we not only make those in the special needs community feel loved and valued, but that we would keep our eyes out for all those around us that are marginalized. If there is more to life than me, then I should be throwing parties that don’t simply benefit my status. Rather, I should be looking for ways to recklessly love and lift up those around me that might not otherwise get invited to a party. When was the last time you threw a birthday party for a homeless guy? Who do you plan to invite to Easter dinner this year? Does that list include someone that won’t get invited otherwise? Has your life group thrown a support shower for that single mother who lives on your street? Have you thought about how you can make the refugee, the international student, the illegal immigrant feel welcomed in your community?
It’s time for Christians to start throwing some parties!