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So that’s what they did. Campolo came back early the next morning with crêpe paper and a big sign saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY and the cook made the cake. About an hour later Agnes arrived with her friends and everybody shouted, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGNES.” Agnes was stunned and when the cook brought out the cake Agnes was so tearful she couldn’t blow out the candles, so the cook did. He then handed her a knife to cut the cake, but Agnes wanted to keep it to show her mother.
Later, after Agnes had left Campolo awkwardly suggested to the cook and his wife they could pray and hearing no objection, he did. He prayed that Agnes might be healed and delivered from the pain in her life and that God would make her new. The cook leaned over the counter and said, “You never told me you were a preacher! What kind of church do you belong to?”
Campolo says that in a moment, when the right words came, he responded, “I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.” The cook thought for a second then said, “No you don’t. There ain’t no church like that. If there was, I’d join it, wouldn’t I?”
Jonathan Storment, a young pastor from Texas, believes that Jesus throws the best parties. While many people are attracted to partying as a way to escape reality and Christians avoid them, he says there are better ways to party than that and Jesus knows how to throw them. He suggests that parties were one of the primary means Jesus used to change the world. In a world that is keen to have us focussing on the right issues and doing good things with our lives, Jesus saw the most important thing is to be standing with the right people.
God became a human being and celebrated life, human life, and did with those the community considered the least. It took a while to catch on but eventually Jesus created a new way of being human. Who would have thought that throwing a party for a tax collector (Matt 9:9-10) or sharing a cup of water with a Samaritan divorcee (John 4:7-9) would begin a movement that changed the world?
Agnes is no longer a prostitute and although she is not yet a Christian she is working for the cook, Harry. Harry has become a Christian and now uses his café as a place to help street people.
Stephen L Baxter
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