Monday, November 10, 2008

Reflections on the Weekend at New Hope

As I look back on this past weekend's gatherings, one of the things that I loved about them was hearing the answers to prayer we've seen since beginning the wailing wall. One woman is thankful her brother (whose name she posted on the wall when we first started using it as a wailing wall) is safely home now from Iraq.

Another woman read a card she had put up months ago that said, "my marriage." She picked that card, read it and she and her husband walked together to the foot of the cross to lay it down. It was so beautiful watching them stand in front of the cross, arm in arm. I wanted to stand up and cheer. God is so good.

I cleaned up the room last night. I boxed up all the cards, notes, pictures...didn't really give it a second thought, actually. It's just what needed to be done. Of course we move on with life...My prayer is that we keep looking for the needs around us, that we keep listening to God's voice and doing no less and no more than he directs, that we continue to better understand the heart who loves us more than anyone.

Here are some thoughts following this weekend's gatherings at New Hope. Anne, thanks for sharing...

in my church at home, we have this place in the back of the sanctuary that we call the "wailing wall." people are encouraged to write things that break their heart, as well as break God's heart, and post these on the wailing wall. we've been doing this for a very long time, and over time this wall has gotten to be completely covered with pieces of paper, pictures, money, newspaper articles....

today in church we had sort of a reflection service where we took these things off of the wailing wall, read them to the congregation, and then placed these at the foot of the cross standing at the front of the room. this was an extremely powerful service to me. to hear these things spoken out loud was, well, unexplainable. there was one in particular that really struck me...the piece of paper urged people to pray for a young boy's family...this boy, 8 years old, in 3rd grade, took his own life.


it breaks my heart that this young boy, hardly even starting his life, found that he had no hope...
at an age where you have all the hope in the world.
it was so bad that he took his own life.


i read a note that said to pray for those children who are abandoned and neglected, that they would find hope. invisible children comes to mind....children who are affected by the sex trade comes to mind...
these things break my heart.

there was another note that stuck out to me.. it encouraged us to pray not only for those being abused, but those who were abusing. i think this is something that we often forget to pray for. we see those people suffering, those abused, neglected but we don't think to pray for those who are oppressing, abusing, neglecting, abandoning. God loves these people just as much as he loves those who are hurt. so should we.

my pastor used an illustration he heard from David Crowder...distinguishing justice from compassion..
picture you and some friends sitting by a river, enjoying a beautiful day and having a picnic. all of a sudden you see people, floating downstream, drowning. you jump in and pull those people to safety. after a while, you keep seeing more and more people floating down the river, drowning. you continue to attempt to rescue these people but after a while you decide that you need to go up stream to figure out how so many people are drowning and to stop whoever is making this happen.
this is the difference between justice and compassion. you have compassion on those who are drowning and you make those attempts to rescue them, but you also must act with justice and do something to stop the oppression.

i have such a hard time with this. reason being, i feel as though i am so small, so can i stop children from being sold into the sex trade? how can i rescue the homeless, feed the hungry...i'm only one person.
i think this is something that many struggle with. it's so intimidating.

how can i make the difference? how can i be the difference?"

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