Journey had a song when I was growing up that talked about the love between a man and a woman. Actually, Journey had a lot of songs about that. One of them was called, "Open Arms." It's a great song, and I don't know how many times I danced to that song at one of our high school dances. Here are some of the lyrics:
"So now I come to you with open arms, nothing to hide, believe what I say. So here I am with open arms hoping you'll see what your love means to me. Open arms."
Now, read as a love song between a man and a woman, it's beautiful enough all by itself. But what if, just what if, we read some of the lyrics in that song as a love song from God to us? I know, you may be thinking it's a stretch and that I'm just grasping at straws for something to write about this morning. But I've said before that I like to look for Godstuff in places most church folks don't think to look. So, that's what I'm going to do with at least part of this song.
Journey says, "We sailed on together, we drifted apart, and here you are by my side..." My gosh, that is our Godstory, right there. From the moment of our conception God and we sailed together, but for a lot of folks, at some point they drifted away. Now...God is wanting to come to them with open arms hoping they will see what their love means to God.
And this is where a classic rock and roll song, a Psalm, and our mission as a church collide. This morning, as I was reading, I just wasn't feeling the battle stuff in 2 Kings, or the words that Paul kicked off 1 Timothy with...but the Psalm for today...it spoke, and it spoke loudly.
The Psalm this morning was Psalm 82 (And it is Psalm, not Psalms, when you're talking about one. Just FYI) and Psalm 82 says this: "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
I think that if I had to sit down today and develop a mission statement for this new FaithRiver adventure, that would be it.."Defending the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintaining the rights of the poor and oppressed; rescuing the weak and needy...and helping them see Godlove waiting for them with open arms." In fact, I think I just developed a mission statement for this new FaithRiver adventure.
For too long, the Church in general has been a place where the well have gathered wanting a check up from the doctor, and not a place where the sick are actively seeking healing. It's time to change that. And, if we can't change that in the churches we serve, it's time to step out in some way that makes that healing possible.
So, sing on Journey, I love the music. But now, as a shepherd and dreamer, forgive me if I hear your songs sung in a different way and for a different purpose.
May you find God by your side waiting with open arms.