This song kept playing in my head all night and woke me in the morning.
One line stood out in particular: Thy precious blood shall never lose its power, ’til all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more.
In contrast to the on-line ugliness seen this past week in attacks directed at a well-known pastor/teacher and author whose son died tragically, I have seen the beauty of thousands of people coming together to pray for a man many of them have never met. I have seen leaders from other fellowships with differing doctrines lay down their right to be right and pray together toward the same purpose. I’ve seen folks from many varieties and styles of prayer and worship of Jesus Christ respond eagerly to prayer bulletins on social media.
I have seen people offer to care for our grandchildren, clean the house, buy groceries, help with paper work and banking, give massages, fix the tires, pick people up from the airport, host out-of-town family in their homes -and more. I have heard from people who have never said more than a one sentence prayer who say they have woken in the night with an urge to pray. I have never experienced such a practical out-pouring of love, but more than that I have never seen so many people moved to overcome differences, reconcile relationships and minister not only to our family, but to each other. It amazes me. I can honestly say, “Look how they love one another!”
I paced and wept and cried out for the life of our son-in-love at that moment when teary-eyed nurses invited immediate family for a brief visit before another surgery on “John.” We knew they did not hold out much hope for him. Strangely as I prayed and walked the halls the phrase that kept popping up, unbidden, in my mind was: “The deeds of the flesh must die.” I didn’t understand it then and I didn’t want to hear it. I realize now this trying time is not about punishment or God being angry with John. The Lord knew he would be okay. This is about a bigger picture.
John has required many blood and platelet transfusions; he has almost needed a fountain of donated blood to keep him going. As I watched another bag dripping life into him today, and with this song still in my head, I was struck by the symbolism.
Finally John is starting to gain consciousness and even make jokes with us, although it is difficult for him to communicate. He is still surrounded by machines and a room full of skilled care-givers who watch the numbers and tend his needs. He can do nothing for himself -not even breathe- but I think the Lord is using him even in his helpless state to teach us.
It is the blood of Christ freely shed for us that gives us life. It is the light of Christ’s love that reveals corruption in the body, the underlying dis-ease of lack of love that spreads like killer bacteria and keeps the church from being what God intended. It is the kind adjudication of God that filters out lies and shows us where we need to change and be renewed. It is the sharp sword of the Word of God that is able to excise and remove necrotic tissue without damaging the healthy tissue and it is Holy Spirit who breathes new life into us.
Christ is returning for a spotless bride. He is revealing and cleansing not because he intends judgmental condemnation, but because he loves us and wants us to be well.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Abba, in your church, be glorified.