I woke at about 5 and as I lay there I thought but for a moment on what I had lost over the years. Not just me, but many. Perhaps it is just nostalgia. Maybe something that “can not be” but it triggered something in me.
Last night I attended a Vacation Bible School at our local fellowship. It is one of the best times of the year for me. Why? Because in so many areas it “reminds” me of what I grew up with. Now, I did not grow up in a church or ever attend a VBS (Nor do I think I was ever invited to one.) or anything related to the concept. But what it reminded me of was, a more “innocent”time if you will.
As I watched the children make new friends, I thought so many parents are so “protective” about their kids or amazingly “unaware” of the damage they are looking at an causing. Innocence is something the Bible wants us to be. Without shame or guilt, to be blameless, if you will. Now that encompasses two thoughts. One that we are innocent by His nature and the second that we ought to avoid “evil” actions. The scriptures tell us to “be innocent of evil”. (Romans 16:19)
I have watched too many children watch too much violence, hear too much evil and endure too much pain.
I do not know about you, but I am ready for a “revival of innocence”. Not a religious vendetta against porn, violence and evil filled with boycotts, but an innocence brought about by who we know and actions that follow.
Last night as I watched the children laugh at the well written skit, play water balloons in the field and laugh as they ate snacks, I thought this is life and life abundant”. It is a time where I watch adults sit and talk with one another and simply “hang out”. People growing together.
I come from a simpler time. I am not looking to “return to the 60’s” but I am looking for the values of some of those times. I remember with happiness my dad putting up the porch on our home. As they poured the foundation and readied it for the roof and framing, there was something tangible in the air. Expectancy. A porch was not going to make my life “better” but it provided hope on a level. Hope for a fun time. When it was done and the picnic table was built and the refrigerator was in place and the barbecue was set, it was a place of gathering. Of friends and family.
Neighbors would show up with refreshments or cookies. People valued people. Even the neighborhood drunk had value in lives. Kids hung out with kids and played baseball or football. I know “bad things” happened. I came up through the Viet Nam war. I read newspapers each day. The news was but an hour of TV time at night.
So, when I awoke at 5 I thought “I am angry” at what is being stolen. What is being taken. What can I do? Many thoughts raced across my mind in a short period of time. I am not a vigilante nor looking for a vendetta. I am a 59 year old man who knows there have been better times. Those times were formed by people of integrity, honor and values. Those times were brought about by an atmosphere of goodness. I also know there can be better times when people come together for the common good of people.
Years ago, “hope and change” were coined politically. But hope without an action of faith, can not truly exist. Faith is to arise for hope to appear. Only in that does our assurance or evidence of a “better” time evolve. It truly is time to for people of faith to put their faith into action. Not out of works, but of confidence in what is right and who He is. A VBS can be the spark of something better. (Not somewhere down the road, though I understand the concept.) In the here and now.
What is it you remember of simplicity, of value, of innocence? I understand the scuffs and the bumps of time have dimmed a memory or two. People say “you can’t go back” and I understand what is being said. But as Israel spent 400 years in captivity, they ultimately had a “return” to values, of freedom and innocence. It is possible. It is time.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isaiah 61:1.
Many do not know a time of innocence or freedom or prosperity. Yesterday, as I showed Jacob the dividends he received for his monies in the bank, he was excited. As I looked at the small amount, I thought of better times. Not times of despair and pain, but better times. So, I told him that if he followed his dreams and kept putting money away there would be a time where he could take it from the bank and live off the dividends.
In 2 Kings 7:1-3, Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’“ So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
Folks, if it could happen then, it can most certainly happen now. The people of grace have a better covenant, a better opportunity. As I laid hands on people this week, I thought what if we just begin to impart the goodness of God to each and everyone. Someone thanked me for caring and I said “what if 50 people just thought to lay hands on every sick person they saw”.
A revival of innocence, a revival of faith, a time of healing and wholeness. Did you read that and get excited? Or did you think maybe someone else could do it? Did you think, “it can not be”? Are you living on “hope to change” or faith to initiate change? Our faith is not settled in what we can do but in what He has already done, provided for. We are not making the laws but enforcing the law. The law of life and liberty.
Today, I give you permission to dream bigger. To embrace His goodness. And to place it into action.