There is a worship song that sings, "Take me to that place, Lord, to that secret place where I can be with you; you can make me like you! Wrap me in your arms! Wrap me in your arms! Wrap me in your arms!" I think on these words and wonder: What does it mean for me to be like you Father? How can you wrap me in your arms when I am too soaked in my own putrid filth and mire? What does it mean for me to pursue a life devoid of earthly dealings and yet full of your life giving bounty? How can I journey with my brothers and sisters on a road that is too narrow for any of us? How do we unite and proclaim a gospel of love in which I remember John's words when he says, "[...] love must not be a matter of theory or talk; it must be true love which shows itself in action. This is how we shall know that we belong in the realm of truth, and reassure ourselves in his sight where conscience condemns us; for God is greater than our conscience and knows all (REB 1 john 3.18)?
This I think is a glimpse:
As the stage vibrates with the bouncing of the chosen children who have come to serve the Red Lake community this week, I sing and drum and dance in jubilance knowing that they could not possibly know or accept the truth which God has been growing in me as of late; they too would have to journey a similar path to the one that I have walked in order to be convinced of the beauty of Christ's bride. This particular group knows what it means to worship. They have tasted the meaning of giving ones heart in ardent and joyful praise to their God, they have served in a manner fitting of the kingdom of God, and they have begun to open their minds to the love that Christ speaks of and John reminds us of. I see them here in trueness as they pour out their thanksgiving to God, not for earthly spoils and treasures, but because he has been faithful to them in their search to be humble servants of Him. These people, these kids, they are vibrant and free; they are the body of Christ.
In contrast to these who are charismatic, I find myself dwelling on the thoughts of the week previous to this one. It was then too that Jesus began to open my eyes to the vast, eclectic, and diverse nature of His body. See, it is not that the charismatic are any more sincere or ardent in their love and expression of faith, but it was that they are allowed, through the culture of their faith, to be free, open, and expressive with an exclamation of praise; they could dance; they could spin; they could scream; they could bow. But what other groups lack in expression, many times, they redact by means of genuinity, for it was the week prior to this one that I saw a group of Catholic kids, on the opposite end of the spectrum, pour themselves into the work of the kingdom in a way that I had little seen surpassed by any groups in the two summers of work in that community. And in the midst of a chaotic and expressive session of worship, I knew that these two groups, had they been coincidentally joined together on a trip, would not have been compatible in their faith expression and may even have been hostile to one another. Even still, in the vibrancy of the worship scene, I could not help but dwell on the sincerity and beauty of a hymn sung A Capella the week before by a more structured crew. It is in the depravity of cultural walls and the hostility of organized denominations that I might find disenchantment, but ever so subtly does the Father remind me of His sovereignty and His undying devotion to all who would proclaim his truth. He reminds me that I have glimpsed the notion of the earth full of His glory; though separated by qualms and brokenness, that it is by His name His children are unified; that the earth, including the sovereign nation of Red Lake, will know and does know Him by our love, not our take on Calvinism/Eucharist/ baptism/insert-secondary-issue-here.
I look on the faces of the kids that we are touching in this place, and I think on the families that we are doing work for and it is here that love as a petty appearance of words begins to lose its meaning and endows itself in the trueness of action. I fear for the decrepit aura that surrounds the future of the children that have touched my life and I know what it means to love in truth. What if the kids fall at the hands of the darkness that has engulfed their community? What if Eugene finds himself in a life of violence because of the gang culture that seems to confront him in every aspect of life? What if Jeff loses his vivacity and joy as he is swallowed up by the biting cynicism, brutality, and anger that he is attacked with daily? What if Zack, one of the most intelligent eight year olds I know, never realizes the potential of his mind because of distraction and lack of opportunity? What if the beautiful Angela finds herself tied to a man who can barely take care of himself because she bought in to the lie that her only worth is in her sexuality? What if Andrea never realizes the beauty of her smile and laugh, because she is too worried about finding her next fix of alcohol or meth? What if Flower loses herself in an addiction of eating as she deals with the abandonment of her mother and family? What if some of these families have to live the winter out in houses that lack windows and doors? How will some of them live with the shame of a house that is in shambles? What joy would be lost if the love of Christ was never known here?
--What if ...we lose? What if there is no hope? It is here, in this fear, that God reveals His faithfulness and sovereignty in His love of man as one remembers His promise to Israel, in Jeremiah, to never leave nor forsake them if they would only seek Him; as one remembers His promise to never leave or forsake us. Here, through the diversity of His body, He opens the door of realization to know what loving in truth really is. It is here that the body and bride of Christ can be unified in commonality as they raise a banner in their own lives and denominations that proclaims the end of apathy and shouts out conviction which would end the plague of darkness that sabotages the hearts of men. It is the bold and coercive doctrine of truth that would proclaim the love of Christ. It is the secret place where Catholic and charismatic, broken and healed, bold and meek, poet and priest can be with Him; can be made like Him; can be wrapped in His arms, wrapped in His arms, wrapped in His arms.