This book, Christ in the Margins, took shape on a red plastic tablecloth in a diner in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is where I met the artist Robert Lentz. The two of us spent hours sharing ideas to bring his vision to reality. Perhaps as we sat together, eyes shining, words tumbling, arms gesticulating, those around us who threw curious glances might well have imagined we were lovers. Indeed we were. We were in love with the Christ we knew danced on the margins of the world, and we were recognizing and naming those who danced with him--Saints Francis and Clare, Steven Biko, Mychal Judge, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Albert Einstein, Black Elk, Julian of Norwich, Johann Sebastian Bach--and many more. As we spoke of these friends of God we were filled with excitement and joy and we knew that, however long it took, this book must be painted and must be written and must be shared.
For it is time. It is time for all of us who follow Christ to recognize him and to proclaim him. It is time to be prophetic about the Christ we know is present in the folks who are pushed aside, dismissed, left out, undermined, underfed, unhoused, or simply unseen and unheard. It is time to hear the truth in the words of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins:
For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, lovely in eyes not his,
through the features of [our] faces.
It is time for the people of God to stop marching along with the status quo in search of security, power, and control, but to stumble instead towards the margins where we will encounter a magic and a mystery that will plunge us trembling but rejoicing into the Realm of God. This is what our book is all about. And it invites all of us into such a time and such a place where we will recognize the face of Christ always new, always unexpected. Always reminding us of God’s promise:
I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity;
your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your old ones shall dream dreams,
and your young shall see visions.
On all men and women
will I pour out my Spirit in those days.
In such a time indeed, and only in such a time, along with all God’s prophets, fools, artists, mystics, poets, and children will we realize a new Jerusalem. The invitation is always there. God is always waiting. It is never too late to see, and to become, "Christ in the Margins."