Monthly Archives: May 2017

PRAYER FOR A TORMENTED WORLD

Holy One we have heard stories about you from eye-witnesses of your wonders. Stories about your rescuing nations from slavery and oppression under tyrants without mercy or conscience. We believe them and thank you. We ask you please to do such things again and deliver heartsick people from their awful suffering and their paralyzing despair—deliver them who live in the hell-holes of the world here at home and abroad. Do it for them and do it to glorify your holy name that they might come to seek after you and find you for we who have the privilege to believe know that you are not far from any of us.
But Holy Father, their Holy Father as well as ours, they don’t know how to know you. They’re poor and ignorant and forcibly kept that way and know nothing of you or your Beloved Son. They weep and no one dries their tears, they’re lonely and no one comes to their side, they’re mentioned in headlines but no one prays for them, they’re hungry and those who would feed and clothe and bless them are kept from doing it by heartless crime bosses and the corrupted powerful.
We have a little—though only a little—understanding of the complexities involved in your dealing with these awful realities when it is humans against humans and you care for us all, the evil and the good. But we know that you are the Lord of heaven and earth and they have no other to stand by their side against the heartless predators that love to feed on their sorrow and dance to the crying of their little children. It appears Holy One that only those who rejoice in brutality and torturing others are free to exercise free will—the many millions are raped and pillaged and herded around like livestock, dumb animals, kept only to be sold or as food to be eaten and their remains scattered in the dust.
We who do care—Christians and non-Christians—don’t know what to do or how to do it so we come to you, for where else is there to go? We who are free can’t help rejoicing in our freedom while our brothers and sisters, little children and parents, huddle together in panic at the news that predators are returning, young here in our own towns, lie in fear of a bedroom door opening again, the unemployed and unemployable, the abandoned and betrayed—there is no end, they awake or lie sleepless only to meet another day of the same.
Ahhhhhhh, how long, they want to know; when will it stop they wonder; they fear that no one can stop it—ever. Holy One we know we are selfish but you must know because you have worked within us that we are not so selfish that we cannot at times enter into their pain and so now for a while we feel it and pray for them, Father, for them. Now! For them—for them!
Grant that we who have freedom will join with you to effect some change and that we will use our freedom for more than self-service. Shape our hearts and speech and actions with the person and meaning of Jesus Christ that if we can’t take away the sorrow and hurt of the world we can in the name of the Lord Jesus do something for those within our reach.
Grant that as we Supper with the Lord Jesus on the Lord’s Day that we will keep the Story alive that He is returning and that all wrongs will be righted and cruelty and injustice and suffering will be no more. Oh, Holy One, whatever the cost to us deliver us your people from any sense that we are your pets and remind us that we live to rejoice in your kindness to us and to serve the world because by faith we were baptized into union with your Holy Son who united Himself with them and with us forever. This prayer in His name.

THERE’S MORE, NOT LESS, MORE

Disease and death are so ugly and brutal. Maybe a terminal ward where everyone is a little child has an added pathos. Because I believe that every little child anywhere in the world is a servant of God I find consolation in knowing that however things appear there’s more in it than meets the eye and when the world is better we’ll clap our hands over our mouths in enlightened astonishment.

Like everyone else it guts me to see them suffer and die.

The raging fever is real, the gasping for air is real, the incubators, straps, tubes, leads, needles, pumps, drips—they’re all real. The silent screaming, the wide-open mouths and the tiny toothless gums, the jerking, twisting, the shrill crying or the silent panting—all real.

There’s no point in denying the reality of all that!

But what if what we see is not all there is?

What if there’s more (not less!) to what we see than what we see?

Would you not want to be able to believe that there was more?

One day outside Jerusalem there was a young man hanging on the public gallows. The spit, the sweat, the blood, the jeers, the taunts, the treachery, the hypocrisy, the race hatred—all real. The thirst, the loneliness, the sense of abandonment, the grief of a mother and friends, the injustice, the evil—all real.

But there was more!

In all that—not simply after it—in and through all that there was more.

There wasn’t less than that! There was more!

John 12:31: SENTENCE WAS BEING PASSED ON THE WORLD! SATAN WAS BEING KICKED OUT!

In the Mel Gibson movie, Christ, badly beating, not allowed to sleep, falling one more time, His mother runs to Him and He says, “Look, mother, I’m making everything new.” Using Revelation 21:5.

Without denying a bit of the ugly and brutal in it there was the wondrous in it, paid for in enduring anguish and pain.

There is more in the disease and death of a child! Let’s not reduce the child to an object of pity. Sadness we should feel but we should learn from them.

It speaks profound truths to the world, into which we have brought anguish, agony and loss, and what it says is said to us at a heartbreaking cost!
And what does it say?