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Friday, December 12, 2008

Broken and Beautiful

As I stepped into the coffee shop, the sound I heard was as loud as it was distinct. It was someone crying. As I looked around at the patrons, most were simply ignoring the din, occasionally stealing a glance toward the source of the pitiful crying. On closer observation, I noticed a young woman leaning over a chair, gently seeking to bring comfort to the one who was so distraught for some unknown reason. The one being comforted was unable to form the words to communicate his displeasure at life so the pitiful wailing continued.

I enjoy watching people. When I go to a restaurant, coffee shop or some other public place I try to position myself in a place that gives me the best opportunity to observe the people who come and go. I enjoy people-watching because we are all so fascinating! I often smile at people’s uniqueness and idiosyncrasies because it makes me happy to remember that each person I see is created in the image of God and – like the snowflakes we will see in the coming months – each one is unique, created like no other.

But at times I become saddened as I watch the people around me. Back to the coffee shop… I settled myself at a table to read and soon two young men and a young woman in their 20’s came in. The tall man wore his white, oversized ball cap low on his head such that it covered his ears and shaded his eyes. The other man was animated and jumpy, like his tall friend. They all looked a little strung out. Their conversation was laced with the occasional swear word with no sense there was anything wrong with loudly using the colorful language in a public arena. The young woman had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, more introverted and quiet than her companions. The three got their drinks and then went and sat on the curb at the base of the bell tower, drank their coffee and rolled their own cigarettes, sharing their papers and tobacco pouch. As I sat watching them through the window, the young woman in particular caught my imagination. I began to wonder what her dreams of life were as a ten year old little girl and if they included where she now appeared to be in life? I had to believe they did not.

What I have noticed in watching people is some of us reveal our lostness and our chains more clearly than others. As I sit and watch others, I can only imagine the blindness and prisons people are experiencing. But God does not have to guess. He is painfully aware. The Bible reminds us… “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

It is Christmas again. This year, because of the struggling economy, it has been harder to hide the brokenness of our world behind the decorations and pretty paper surrounding gifts. But it is ultimately the brokenness we try to hide that is the reason behind this season. As God looked at our hearts he saw the great need for a savior. So, as he often does, he moved in surprising and unexpected ways to provide the greatest gift. God gave a hint of this surprising gift through his prophet Isaiah. It was the prophet’s words Jesus used to let the world know he was the fulfillment of the promise made long before.
"“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”" (Luke 4:18-19, ESV)
The one crying so loudly that I saw when I entered the coffee shop eventually was calmed by the gentle words and touches of the young woman caring for him. She wiped the drool hanging from his lips with the ready towel hanging on the front of his shirt. She then wheeled the wheel chair the twenty-something young man was strapped into out of the coffee shop, followed by his friend – a forty-something man with Down’s Syndrome.

The vision of Cold Springs Community Church is “Growing transformed lives through experiencing the love, truth, presence and people of Jesus.” We carry that vision out by sharing the gift of Jesus with anyone willing to receive him. We still believe he sets people free from captivity, heals blindness, frees the oppressed. We still believe there is good news for each and every person created in God’s image, whether their brokenness is visible or not.

We make a difference in a world desperately in need of Good News. This Christmas I challenge you to see the beauty and brokenness of those around you and, because we are both broken and beautiful, be bold in sharing the Good News that Jesus still sets people free. There’s nothing that can make a Christmas more merry than that!


gregg Farah said...

Great post. Love your church's vision statement. I'd love to be part of your church.

Annie said...

This is so exciting that you have a blogspot! I'll definitely be following it! :)

PS - I never noticed your batman hairline...haha

Larry Rascon said...


Keep them coming, once a week is all we ask!