Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Thought for Tuesday 5/14/13

“Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove.  My eyes fail from looking upward.  O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me!”  Isaiah 38:14

The story is told of a pastor at his new appointment who was standing in his study on the first Sunday of his appointment.  As the congregation waited for the service to begin, the pastor did not come out.  An usher went to the pastor’s study to advise him that it was time to start but found the pastor staring out the window of the study.  When the usher told the pastor it was time to start, the pastor slowly turned and the usher noticed tears streaming down the pastor’s face. 

“Are you ill, pastor?”  The pastor replied, “No.  I was just looking out the window into the alley at these poor, dirty children playing.”  The usher, with his head lowered, quietly said, “I know what you mean, but soon enough you will get used to it.”  The pastor stated, “I know I will get used to it.  That’s why I am crying.”

There are always appropriate times to “look upward” especially when it feels as though our world is crumbling around us, just as Israel must have noticed as their homeland was disintegrating and all seemed lost.  We “look upward” when we cannot find any other means to address the many problems we face almost daily.  And yet there are often those times when we become so self-absorbed with our own problems that we forget there are always others whose problems, real problems, make our own problems seem more like blessings; but because we see it so often, we just become “used to it” so that the real problems our neighbors face become unnoticeable.  We still see, but we do not comprehend.

A dear friend asked recently if I thought I was truly prepared for what may be revealed if I asked.  I thought of the story I share with you and could not help but to wonder if maybe I had already “seen” what the Lord revealed to me but did not notice because the call and claim of our Lord on my life did not look like what I had expected (or desired).  Or maybe I was just too wrapped up in my own life and my own petty problems to notice.

We must not forget Jesus’ claim on Isaiah’s prophecy: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.  He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18,19).  Now that our Lord has long ascended to the Throne of Grace, we have been blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit to claim His mission as our own, as the mission of the Church not to comfort the comfortable or to give sight to those who already think they see!  It is time for the Church (that’s you and me!) to gain a new perspective and open her eyes to the real world, the real problems our neighbors face each day because Jesus’ claim on Isaiah’s prophecy is Jesus’ very definition and vision for His Body – the Church.


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