Saturday, June 28, 2014

He is such a lover of poor pilgrims

Buscaré la perdida, haré volver la descarriada, vendaré la perniquebrada y fortaleceré la enferma; pero destruiré la engordada y la fuerte. Las apacentaré con justicia. Ezequiel 34:16

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:16

This is the promise of The Lord God Almighty.

And I am surrounded by beauty and goodness just now, at the House Beautiful in my pilgrimage, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. And yesterday we climbed up North Table Mountain and it was perfectly clear where the name came from, golden billowing wheat tossed about by a full- of-promises-of-rain breeze.

Thus they discoursed together till late at night; and after they had committed themselves to their Lord for protection, they betook themselves to rest. The pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, whose window opened towards the sun-rising. The name of the chamber was Peace, where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sang,

"Where am I now? Is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are.

   . . . Then I saw in my dream, that on the morrow he got up to go forward, but they desired him to stay till the next day also; and then, said they, we will, if the day be clear, show you the Delectable Mountains; which, they said, would yet farther add to his comfort, because they were nearer the desired haven than the place where at present he was; so he consented and stayed. When the morning was up, they had him to the top of the house, and bid him look south. So he did, and behold, at a great distance, he saw a most pleasant mountainous country, beautified with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very delectable to behold. Then he asked the name of the country. They said it was Immanuel's land; and it is as common, said they, as this hill is, to and for all the pilgrims.

And Christian spent three days there at House Beautiful, where he was strengthened and armed for his continued journey, for the road ahead was hard and slippery, and led through the Valley of Humiliation.

And in this world of beauty, this world of sweeping vistas and snow-capped mountains, this world of freshly chopped garden rhubarb and sweet rolls bubbling over the edge of the buttered pan, in this world of snuggling under woven blankets among heaps of squishy pillows, there is pain and injustice and brokenness right around the corner.

And it is impossible to hold the good and the evil in my human heart and mind. I cannot grasp the pain of the Taliban sweeping through Afghanistan even at this moment. Or the horrors and ramifications of World War I, the war that did not indeed end all wars, but rather unleashed new standards of destruction. Or even the back story of the two grizzled men sharing a doorstep and a brown paper bag as we drove home from downtown Denver last night.

But The Lord God Almighty can, and does. And He has declared that justice will be done, and that He will seek the lost, and the strayed will be brought back, He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.

He is the Good Shepherd who lay down His life for His sheep.

And Jesus said unto them, "Follow me."

 And Christian replied, And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; therefore leave off to persuade me farther: I am his servant, and I will follow him.