Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Lost and the Misled

     My church is having a memorial service for a fallen soldier.  He was from our town and only 20 years old.  The honor to have this at our church is humbling.  I wish we didn’t have to face the possibility of people coming to protest the funeral in the purported name of God.  Like terrorists, they make us worry about how to deal with them.  They know enough to demand their free speech and free assembly rights and I’ve heard they make a lot of money in litigation when those rights are denied. The irony of them invoking the constitution while horribly disrespecting those who are sworn to defend it is not lost on anyone.  In fact, so much about this seems wrong that I want to share a story.
     Imagine a meeting in the depths of hell where there are always meetings, subcommittees and portfolio facilitators. It goes like this:

      The mood in the meeting room was always the same.  Fear mixed with a lustful hate.  Desperation sounded in the voice of the speaker as the report was given.
      “We are gaining strength nearly everywhere,” the voice trembled.  “In the developed world, we have generations that are not loyal to… to the other.”
      There was a sound at the end of the table where light did not shine.  When the voice spoke from it, everyone in the room sank low.
      “As long as there are any loyal to Him,” came the hiss.  “We must assault them.” 
      “Popular culture makes loyalty to the other undesirable,” the first one spoke.
      “Popular culture is fleeting,” was the reply.  “There will always be those who resist its draw.  It has no real power.”
      There was silence for a time.  The fear rumbled softly like the ground quaking.
      A new, younger one slowly rose to speak. “So then master,” he said.  “We must have some real power.” 
      All eyes looked to the new one.
      “Yes,” said the master. “And what power do I have?”
      “Lies, master.”
      “Lies,” said the master. “More than lies.  Deception.  The truth, but with confusion and selfishness and things of the world distorting it.”
      “Yes, master,” came the reply. “So we should be like them.”
      There was a shudder from the others, but the master kept calm.
      “What would be the most damaging thing to the other side?” the new one continued.”  “For some to pose as their own followers to quote His Words.  But to do it in such a hateful way that the world looks upon all of them with a distorted viewpoint.  What a weapon we could have if the world believed them to be of Him, but all along they were doing your work?”
      The fear and hate in the room rose.
“Yes,” the master hissed.  “You will make this happen.  Go find some of His flock that is unsure, guilty, weak.  Begin to plant in them ideas of how they might serve their master.  Make them imagine themselves boldly doing His work and deserving great reward.  But give them ideas filled with fear and hate.  Have them invoke His Words so loudly that the unreached believe that is His way.  Many will stay away from him, yes.”
      The other sank down and bowed.  Pain and fear surrounded him as he departed. The master looked to the rest. One spoke up:
      “We will be victorious master,” he said.
      “No,” the master stated.  “In the end, we will lose.  All we can do is take as many of the flock away from Him.”
      The departing one found some with hearts that would hear.  When their work began, the effect was just what the master had desired.
      The effect didn’t last as long as though.  Some of those that truly belonged to Him prayed for the lost. And when the flock prayed, deception fell.  
     I won’t pretend to know what goes on in those meetings.  But what this group does seems so wrong that I think it was created there.  
     I want to remember that these protesters are God’s children also.  I wish that if they showed up, we could give them coffee and doughnuts or somehow minister to their closed hearts.  But they are in a cult.  What’s more, this isn’t their day.  This Friday, it’s about our hometown soldier and his family and loved ones.  There is nothing to do but pray for these lost people.




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