A gauntlet thrown

chess-board.jpgFor the past few days, I’ve been edgy.  Really edgy.  Last night my friend Colleen and I went to dinner, and afterward, we sat in the car, unable to put into words the palpable tension we were experiencing.

 There are some tensions that simply are deeper and more complex than words can aptly define.  The closest thing to describing the experience is that something had shifted…if we were chess pieces and God chess player, our pieces were moved to a new spot, closer to the battlefield.  But we did not know our exact location.  We did not know where we were moved.

Last night, I occupied my mind with Walk the Line.  My favorite line in the movie (which has probably been referenced a million times since the movie was released) was when Johnny Cash was discussing with his agent his desire to sing at Folsom prison.  His agent said that the majority of his fans were Christians who didn’t want to hear someome encouraging inmates.  Johnny Cash then said,

Well, they ain’t Christians, then, are they?

Let it appears I digress, allow me to continue.  Today in church, Pastor John began a sermon series entitled, “Saved to Stand.”His sermon drew from James 2 where the scripture says that faith without works is dead.  As he began preaching, the tension that had plagued me was diffused.

You see, God has reawakened a desire to get my hands dirty in ministry.  I mean sweeping streets, wiping tears, digging ditches, building relationships with the overlooked and marginalized.  That is part of the reason that I am so excited to work in the city.  There are so many people of all sizes, shapes, and socioeconomic levels.  The homeless man who wears a second-hand army jackets needs to know and be shown the love of Christ just as much as the high level executive in his Armani suit.  Sure, I’ll have to pay Philadelphia city-wage tax, but I’ll have thousands of opportunities on a daily basis to be the salt and the light of which Jesus speaks in the gospel of John.

My pastor threw down a gauntlet today.  My prayer is that our congregation steps up to the plate.  Last night and this morning, I was awaiting a challenge.  Today, I accept it.

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