Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Start Right Here In The Name of Jesus

Start Right Here

Song by Casting Crowns 

We want our coffee in the lobby
We watch our worship on a screen
We got a Rockstar preacher
Who won't wake us from our dreams
We want our blessings in our pocket


We keep our missions overseas
But for the hurting in our cities
Would we even cross the street?
 

Huh but we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church…  If we want to see a change in the world out there

It's got to start right here
It's got to start right now
Lord, I'm starting right here
Lord, I'm starting right now
 

I'm like the brother of the prodigal
Who turned his nose and puffed his chest
He didn't run off like his brother
But his soul was just as dead
What if the church on Sunday
Was still the church on Monday too?
What if we came down from our towers
And walked a mile in someone's shoes?
 

Hmm 'cause we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church if we want to see a change in the world out there
 

It's got to start right here
It's got to start right now
Lord, I'm starting right here
Lord, I'm starting right now
 

We're the people who are called by His name
If we'll surrender all our pride and turn from our ways
He will hear from Heaven and forgive our sin
He will heal our land but it starts right here
We're the people who are called by His name
If we'll surrender all our pride and turn from our ways
He will hear from Heaven and forgive our sin
He will heal our land
 

It's got to start right here
It's got to start right now
Lord, I'm starting right here
Lord, I'm starting right now
It's got to start right here
It's got to start right now
Lord, I'm starting right here
Lord, I'm starting right now

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Mark John Hall / Bernie Herms / Seth David Mosley / Matthew Joseph West

Start Right Here lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

Do you see those larger letters in the song lyrics?  Therein lies the topic of this blog… 

We keep our missions overseas
But for the hurting in our cities
Would we even cross the street?
 

If there's anything I've come to understand about the church of the suburbs, it's this… 

You do prefer that your missions are somewhere 'oversees' or at least not so close that you can drive there in under an hour.  You are not willing to drive up a highway and get to know those people who used to live in your suburban neighborhood and are now trapped on the streets of Kensington by active Substance Use Disorder and homelessness because to do so would, well, you fill in the blank… 

I grew up in your suburbs…  You've forgotten me and that I still live in your suburbs…  Two or three days each week, I visit Kensington and sit with our misplaced neighbors.  Even in the absence of their[1] daily shower, as they sink into their 'high,' they are a joy to sit with as they share their lives with me.  

It's a joy that I can't explain.  It's not a happy joy like being at a suburban birthday party.  It's a joy in knowing that this person knows that someone cares and loves them for who they are: an inspirational human being made in the image of God and worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love. 

There's a deep pain in this joy that I'll try to explain here by combining stories that I've already shared with you in their individual pieces… 

Imagine if you can, sitting on a Kensington sidewalk celebrating the birthday of a young woman who used to attend NA meetings in your suburban church building.  Before focusing on the celebration of her birthday, she MUST give herself an injection of her 'medicine' so as not to be dope sick during the party.  Getting her 'medicine' today was extra challenging as she, a few hours earlier, had no money.  She stood on a street corner and waited to be picked up by some unknown to her 'man', provide him with sexual services, get paid and then buy what she needed.  Here's a quote from such a setting: 

"One was an important lawyer who picked me up in his Cadillac, took me to a center city hotel, tied me to the bed, had his way with me, got dressed, untied me and left the room.  I had to use some of the money he gave me for public transit just to get back here to buy my medicine."   

Only after injecting herself with heroin and as she started to 'dip' in her high could this birthday girl focus on her party as the corner dealer looked on in confusion as to why the white guy (me) was sitting on his section of sidewalk… 

I'm not sharing this with you to build me up in any way.  God knows I've been told by many a professional pastor that I have nothing to offer in actual ministry.  I tell you this so that you know that within one hour of where you are sitting and reading this blog, there are your actual, and factual, and real and former and now misplaced neighbors waiting and wanting to be loved by you: a representative of God's Church in the Name of Jesus. 

Join me some time…






[1] As I use the words "Their" and "they" please know that "They" are NOT "they" but rather extensions of "us."

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