Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Standing in the Gap...

Today's Life Journal readings are Ezekiel 22, Ezekiel 23, Ezekiel 24, and Revelation 9.

Scripture: Ezekiel 22:30 (The Message)
"I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn't have to destroy it.  I couldn't find anyone.  Not one."

Things had gotten worse in Jerusalem, and the people of God had moved farther away from the God who created them.  Verses 26-29 are a laundry list of things that have gone bad within their social systems.  Now God has looked for someone to stand in the gap and not found anyone.

The most common complaint I hear about worship in any place is this: "I just didn't get anything out of it."  It usually comes from folks who have come to the church I serve after becoming disillusioned with their own and are seeking more than what that church was offering.  I get that, really.  We have a lot going on at Grace Church, and there are several different ways to get something out of what's going on here.  I'm proud of my folks for all they are doing and the ministries that are taking place through their hands.

However...when someone says to me, "Well, I just didn't get anything out of my last church." it makes me cringe just a bit.  "Why?" you may ask.  Because of this one line in Ezekiel this morning.  God is looking for folks who are willing to stand in the gap.  That's a tough place to be, honest.  It's hard to stand up for what is right...to speak for those who have no voice...to minister with those no one else wants...to proclaim release to the captives...to realize the church really isn't a cruise ship, there to serve me and make me happy.

Now having said that, it is important for us to be in a place that feeds us spiritually, where we can build community for mutual support and love, and where we can engage in worship that is genuine for who we are...through those things we are given the strength to then go out and stand in the gap for the other.

God who calls us and gives us strength, our souls are hungry.  Our spirits are thirsty.  We are looking for ways to connect with you on a deeper level.  Remind us that we are given bread so that we may be bread for others.  Then send us to the outcasts, the sick, the prisoners, and any, Oh God, who have not yet heard.  Amen.

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