"Have you seen the old man in the closed down market, kicking up the papers with his wornout shoes, in his eyes you see no pride, hands held loosely by his side, yesterday's papers telling yesterday's news. Oh how can you tell me you're lonely and say for you that the sun doesn't shine? Oh let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of london, i'll show you something that'll make you change your mind. Have you seen the young girl who walks the streets of london? Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags, she's no time for talking, she keeps right on walking, carrying her home in 2 carrier bags. In the all-night cafe at a quarter past 11, same old man sitting there on his own, looking at the world over the rim of his tea-cup, each tea lasts an hour, then he wanders home alone. Now have you seen the old man outside the seamans mission, memory fading with the medel ribbons that he wears, in our winter city while the rain crys little pity, for one more forgotten hero, and a world that doesn't care. Oh how can you tell me you're lonely and say for you that the sun doesn't shine? Oh let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of london, i'll show you something to make you change your mind." - Ralph McTell
A classic song. I was just listening to it and thinking.... I was thinking that there are so many people in this world who are just like the people in this song.... who no-one really notices, who no-one really sees, who the world turns a blind eye to, cos it's easier than actually seeing and actually knowing and actually caring and actually loving them. And the thing is, i think there are two types of seeing. You can see with your eyes. Or you can see with your heart. We see all-sorts with our eyes every day, and barely even absorb it... but we see much less with our hearts. I want to see people through the eyes of my heart more.. or through the eyes of God's heart. And i don't just mean so i feel pity for them and cos i think i have something i can offer them.. but more because i realise at the end of the day we are all alike... in our loneliness, in our brokenness, in our sinfulness, in our need for others... the thing is, i need others and can learn from them, as much as they may need me and can learn from me... And more often than not, i think what people need is just someone to stand with them, to love them no matter what, to not judge them or give up on them, or write them off... so that in their loneliness they know that they are not alone after all. Maybe just the simplicity of loving, accepting relationships is of more value than a lot of wise words we may try to offer.
And i truly think that the most outcast social reject is as much made in the image of God and is as much able to teach me about God as some well-revered preacher. And the funny thing is, i often feel most aware of God's presence when i am chatting to someone who society would completely reject... it's almost like God so dwells with the downcast and the humble and the broken, the people who just are what they are, that actually if you want to find Him there is more chance of meeting Him in them, than there is in a Church meeting where people are striving to look holy and pleasing in the sight of others. I'm not judging Christians... don't get me wrong.. i love meeting with Christians and when i'm cut off from their company i feel like a piece of coal that's taken out of a fire and starts to go cold. But it's just that at the times in my life when i have felt most broken and most desperately in need of Jesus' presence, i have felt more inclined to find a homeless guy on the street to chat to, than i have felt inclined to go to a church meeting. I don't really understand why, i'm just being totally honest. I'm not judging the Church for this.. i am as much a part of what makes the Church what it is as anyone else.. so in judging them, i am also judging me. But i've just realised again the last few years, that when you reach a point of desperation, nothing but the real living presence of Jesus will suffice... and it's at those times that you notice how much cultivated religion there is in a Church, and how much you desperately just need that raw reality of Jesus.. the Jesus of the Bible, who sat with and ate with sinners more than law-keeping religious men... the Jesus who had no-where to lay his head, and who completely gave Himself, to the point of death, for others... the Jesus who says 'come to me, all you who are weary and i will give you rest'.. the Jesus who doesn't care about success, or money, or social-standing, or numbers but says 'blessed are the poor in spirit.. those who mourn.. the meek...those who hunger and thirst for righteousness"... and the God who delights to dwell with "him who is contrite and lowly in Spirit..."
I don't really know what the point of this post is. I guess i'm just grateful that God sees everything and notices everything.. that there is no-one who goes unseen before God, no-one who is completely alone, because God is completely aware of everything.. all our unseen struggles and all our unseen battles. Yet at the same time i want to be a part of a people who do see others, who do care.. and i want to be part of a people who are so real and raw that they truly are a vessel for the real and raw presence of Jesus. I feel such a massive awareness of the fact that there are so many people out there who's only hope is the real Jesus.. who aren't gonna tolerate man-made religion, or half-hearted attempts to show what Jesus is like.. who need nothing less than whole-hearted brotherly love... people who are so thirsty that if they don't drink straight from Jesus, they are literally going to die... like we can't be offering people a version of Jesus that is muddy with our own religious attempts, but we have to be offering the real Jesus..... like we have to be so real and broken ourselves that we just have Jesus living in us and people see Him, not our attempt to be 'like Him'...... and if i'm honest, i feel like there is a massive barrier between the white-middle-class-church and the average-thirsty-soul that i don't even know how it's going to be broken down.. even though i am in a Church and part of a Church, even i'm acutely aware of that barrier and even i feel like i don't fit there, so i don't really know what it would be like for some people..... i feel like the barrier has to be broken down though.. like there is an urgency for it to happen... like it's a matter of life or death....life and death for the people of God, as much as life and death for those who don't yet know Him.... like i'm so thirsty for the living real presence of Jesus amongst His people, and for His people to be completely absorbed and focussed on Him...
"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me..." - Matt 25:40
"'Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and i will give you rest,' He said. I could find no invitations towards success or superiority in the invitations of Jesus. Grace, like water, flows to the lowest parts." - Philip Yancey