There are all kinds of street culture in our inner-city Chicago neighborhood and while I don’t do it one-hundred percent of the time I often say something when someone might be open to a kind “Hello” and even a bit of a witness for the One I love.
Often interesting little chats happen like that.
So as I was about to walk past and somewhat through the little group I noticed they were checking me out.
In our neighborhood and in this particular context, they may have seen me do a street concert or the church I work with (Jesus People Ev. Covenant) may have provided them or a family member or friend some service of some sort. We help people with housing needs (a large shelter) food, clothing and other support services (senior’s living facility) and so on.
This to say they may have either recognized me as part of JP or as “an old hippie” may have figured I might be a potential client.
So the obvious leader met eyes with me as I was moving along the sidewalk and when I got right up to him I simply said with a smile “You do know Jesus loves you?” which is of course a bit unusual to hear anywhere.
So the other two chuckled a bit and the apparent leader said with a slight smirk “Where IS he, I ain’t seen Him around here?”
I smiled and immediately heard myself respond with “He’s anywhere you want Him to be… but He ain’t you and He ain’t me.” And that was that.
No more chatter, I walked on and got my wife’s legal medical drugs and they continued to traffic the other sort in the street.
Now, understand, I fully understand the risk of contact. I also understand the risk of having none- with God, that is.
I also understand that people have to make “a living” and that sometimes due to a -lot- of personal, family and societal issues making a living ain’t much of a living and can contribute to plenty of pain and misery, even death.
Sin is the gift that keeps on giving, so to speak.
But as I walked into the pharmacy I thought about what I’d said a bit more.
See, being a musician who writes songs, therefore a lyricist, and also interacting in the street brings one to exchanges like “Where is HE, HE ain’t you and HE ain’t ME”.
But the truth of my statement is core and I always consider my lyrics from many angles before deciding to change or publish them.
Is is true that He IS even when we don’t recognize Him being around or near us? Is God for real?
Jesus is more for real than any of us, more immediate “in the moment” than I think we would often like Him to be.
Further, I asked myself if my reply was just a quick come-back or what??
It’s true- Jesus is risen, real and omnipresent whether we believe He is or not.
It is also true that we may not WANT Him to be, but our faith, lack of faith, obedience or disobedience doesn’t cancel out the truth of His immediate presence.
Lots of scripture is clear on this fact. Even something such as “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good”. Yep.
And then I thought “He’s WHEREVER you WANT Him to be”. Really?
There is a very true sense in which He even stands “at the door” and knocks. IF we open the door He enters. Or not.
From my earliest days of faith I heard it taught “The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman. He came upon Jesus as a dove. He will not kick the door down”.
It is written “Whosoever WILL, let him come, take the water of life freely”. What about whosoever won’t?
We resist God the Holy Spirit every single time we sin.
Indeed, if you don’t want Jesus to be in your life, there is an actual sense in which He will respect that and you then live with the consequences. Well… if you call that living. I don’t, but this is a point where you and I might just plain ol’ disagree.
There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent.
I find myself in situations like this where I am nearly certain God wants to remind people of His love and the fact that HE IS whether they want to wish Him or explain Him away or not.
I think I read somewhere His followers are to be “salt and light”.
Things to consider as you walk.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn