Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Fighting on the frontline

Today I found myself standing in a hopsital gazing at the photo board for the hospital chaplaincy. Out of the nine photos on display, the denominations listed were a mix of Anglican and Catholic with one Lutheran. In the past and in the present, the first two denominations have been in the news headlines for their terrible shortcomings mainly to do with abuse allegations. Sadly some are famous for it, and the worldwide church gets put in the same basket (ironically, we're all one church).

A lovely lady chaplain came up to me and I voiced what I was thinking, that these same denominations are also the ones who are actually going about the business of doing the work we all are commissioned with, still showing the love, and being right where they are needed - helping people who are in serious predicaments and needing God's reassurance (especially salvation).

Her reply was profound: "We are on the frontline. It makes sense we will come under attack. We get our hands dirty [doing this work]." She said other things as well, but this made absolute sense.

If you aren't bothering the devil, he ain't gonna bother you.

Where were the other denominations? The Baptists, the Unitings, or even my own Church of Christ? This is not to put them to shame as I know in other hospitals all around the world the denominations represented will be different. All I could think was that though the newspapers highlight the horrors and sadness, the good these guys are doing and the comfort they do impart is passing very much under the radar of the world. I have no doubt that it is not going so quietly with God.

I swear I could hear Him shouting, "Well done! You're doing it! You're doing it!" And they are.

Don't be too quick to write off the whole church because of the wrongs of a handful. Abuse is horrible and everyone acknowledges the damage can go beyond imagination.

What I am saying here is do remember to pray for those on the frontline who have gotten off the sidelines and are actively doing good work. These are your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Pray for what they are up against.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

This is a difficult blog to write and I hope you can understand the heart of where I am coming from, that I am not being glib or chintzy. Our war is not with flesh and blood. When I told the lady chaplain she is working a hard market, her nod of agreement said it all.

Selah: Pause and reflect, weigh and determine.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4v16

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