|"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,|
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the captives free..."
Thinking about the people who really need the Lord today. The one's who didn't make it to church this morning. Some of them are card carrying members of the local church. And some of them never stepped foot in a church building before. They are more than the sum total of what others may say about them or think about them. They are frail and fragile, often beyond our reach. For them, the bottom has fallen out. They need God in a way that cannot be described. If you haven't been there, you probably can't relate. But, if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about.
I am not talking about a people who get up on a Sunday morning and fit God into their schedule because it's expected, because they are church members or members of the deacon board, or, even a Sunday School teacher or a pastor who stayed up late preparing his weekly sermon. I'm not talking about the kids who go to church because their parents dragged them there, or the husband who "plays the role" of the spiritual head of the family or the wife who begrudgingly tags along with the husband who wants her there.
No, I'm not talking about any of them.
I'm thinking of the one who drank herself to sleep last night to drown out the voice of despair that she couldn't turn off in her head.
I'm thinking of the one who graduated from college three years ago and wants to give it all up because there isn't a job to be found, even for a college graduate.
I'm thinking of the young husband who got married in a whirlwind of excitement and promise, whose wife strutted out the front door yesterday with his babies in her arms, to live with the boyfriend she has been having an affair with.
I'm thinking of the young college girl who bought into all the hype that sex, in any form, at any time, with anyone, is her right and privilege. I'm picturing her broken and weeping all alone in her room now that she has exercised her "right to choose" and killed the baby she wanted to carry but couldn't find a way.
I'm picturing the 70-year-old grandfather, lying on his death bed all alone in an "independent living" home, where he found refuge and where none of his children or grandchildren or siblings or friends ever bothered to visit him.
I'm picturing the young soldier, dying on a battlefield in a war that nobody wants to acknowledge and everyone pretends isn't happening.
I'm picturing the little five-year-old girl, looking up into the eyes of the father she trusts, just before he raped and murdered her mercilessly.
I'm picturing the babies, born fully formed and beautiful from the hand of God, dying on the abortion clinic floor after the doctor that delivered them cut their spinal chord with a pair of scissors to "get rid of them".
So many people, young and old, dying natural and unnatural deaths all around us. My heart cries out for them. I know that is the heart of God crying within me for each one.
People need the Lord. Not an empty religious ritual where we gather together on Sunday and get Him out of the way just before we go to Sunday brunch. But, a desperate, "sell everything you have" to get to Him need for the Only God who matters.
Forgive me if I have no patience with empty rituals that don't bring us to the throne of God. To me, they are a waste of time and a mockery of God. He said He came to "set the captive free." That's me and that's you...
He came for the sick, the dying, the desperate. What are we doing settling for anything less...?