Thursday, May 29, 2014

The guy with the cane walked past us three times

30 de mayo, 2014

En Dios haremos proezas. Salmo 60, 12

Jesus dijo: Id, pues, y aprended lo que significa: Misericordia quiero, y no sacrificio. Mateo 9, 13

Debemos dejar de lado todos los sistemas y reglas del juego, todos los conceptos y composiciones, todas las cosmovisiones, absolutamente todas explicaciones para dar un primer paso hacia el projimo. Hans-Dieter Husch

So why not? Last night Nicole and I went to hear an Indian evangelist and prayer healer. Across the river in Old Istanbul. I mean, all of Istanbul seems pretty old to me, give or take a century or two.

And of course, for the first hour we pretty much wondered what we had gotten ourselves into... four or five people sitting around a lace-bedecked wedding venue.

But as the evening wended on, we knew. Through God, we shall do valiantly. The speaker was simple, clear, and focused. Jesus is alive, and we will all see this tonight. He had the crowd of a hundred carefully practice shouting, Hallelujah," and something along the lines of, "Tanrı'ya övgüler olsun," before he began, and we were good to go. And he explained that he heard God speak to him, and then he would say it. Simple, clear, and focused. And over and over, his lively story of Jesus bringing back life to the heartbroken widow's son was interrupted by him pointing to a place in the audience, calling out specific ailments, people trundling up, clarifying the duration and severity of the deafness, or pain, or immobility, praying in the name of Jesus, and then quite dramatic demonstrations of healing. Over and over. Every time.

And the big story was joy. Apparently the name of the city Nain means "happy place" or "pleasant place." And this heartbroken woman was leaving happiness, and weeping into despair, and Jesus had compassion on her.  When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, "Don't cry." And we are a brokenhearted people. And he is a God of compassion.

And the biggest transformation I saw last night was the looks on the faces of the people who were healed. Quite clearly joy. No hedging or doubt. These faces glowed.

And as Nicole and I walk the streets and ride the trams and drink coffee at sidewalk tables we long to be valiant. But we aren't.  There are many crutches and tapping canes and wrapped wounds. Where do we start? We certainly don't speak the language. We are clumsy tourists. Insensitive to cultural nuances. We who are revising yet another version of Do What Jesus Did for publishing, complete with discussion questions and group activities and weekly assignments.

And the meditation for the day from the Lecturas Diarias 2014 says we should leave to one side systems of thinking and figuring things out, the rules of the games, and absolutely all of the excuses and rationales, and take that first step to my neighbor.

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

So be it.