We came down the mountain into Steamboat Springs in a flurry of smoke and brake fluid, on our way to the 35th Rainbow Gathering. Yikes. One of the colorful family school buses in our caravan was not going to make into the national forest.
Thankfully, the bus limped its way into the safe harbor of the Wal-Mart parking lot. Stranded. It was, needless to say, a stressful predicament, but we quickly realized that God was on our side, and we could indeed make the best of our situation. What better way to meet some locals?
Of course, the first people we met were the manager of Wal-Mart and a friendly police officer. And it didn't take long for us to catch wind of the many outlandish "Rainbow rumors" about hippies showering in the produce aisle and locals locking their doors for fear of a dirty hippie breaking in to shower and raid the fridge. I don't think any of us are that desperate.
But we were desperate for a place to work on our broken-down bus! Thanks to the phone book, we met the pastor and the youth pastor of Steamboat Christian Center (Troy and Jake, both very cool, down-to-earth guys) and a score of people who care about reaching out and loving the Rainbows.
We've been parked in the lot all week and have been treated like family. One guy gave us a bus jack, others have thrown money into the repairs. They have been praying for all of us and gathering supplies, from produce and gift cards to camping gear and diapers for us to distribute to the Rainbow family. A few are even venturing out with us.
I am continually amazed by people who are willing to lay aside cultural differences (hey, I admit that some of us do look like freaks) for the sake of love. They said if Jesus came to town he would be out in the forest. What a novel idea. Let's love instead of fear each other.
So if this strikes a chord in your heart, and you want to bridge the gap between your world and the Rainbow world, feel free to drop off supplies at Steamboat Christian Center or come hang out with us (Jesus Loves You Ministries) at Bread of Life camp. Really, we are all celebrating "family" this week, whether you're a cowboy or a Rainbow or a patriot. And I've discovered that God loves us all, and welcomes us to become a part of His big, happy, world-wide family.