bits from bob....
The English language is filled with sad words. Separation is such a word. Separation can be devastating. Ask any struggling married couple. Ask a child from a home broken by divorce. Ask a widow, or widower. Ask anyone who lives on the periphery of society, destitute and unaccepted and alone. Separation is painful when a hole appears where there used to be a person. Separation is equally painful when there never has been care and concern and relationship.
The God of heaven who sent his Son knows the pain of separation. Christ on the cross agonized over the separation of being away from God. The remarkable thing about Jesus' life was his willingness to find relationship where there had formerly been only separation and rejection.
A leper touched by Jesus' healing is no longer destined to a life of isolation, yet only one of ten expressed gratitude. A publican visited by Jesus was so overjoyed by the return of relationship that he promised honesty and quadruplicate return of gain obtained in dishonesty. An immoral woman is so grateful that she sobs as she falls at the Savior's feet. If Jesus came to seek and save the lost, it seems all who are his would rejoice when separations are healed and relationships are restored.
An irony of Scripture is that the suturing of separations was a source of dismay to many in the first century. The Pharisees could only wonder if Sabbath healing was right, or why Jesus would company with sinners, or if Jesus even knew the nature of those he accepted.
It is tragic that many of God's people still do not know the sorrow of separation as we insensitively live in the midst of hurting people without recognizing their hurts. Separation kills. The coal separated from the fire dies. The branch separated from the tree dies. The fish out of water dies. The child of God separated from the people of God in worship and study and prayer dies. People isolated from society and without acceptance are surely, slowly dying from within.
Did you notice that some of our brothers and sisters were separated (absent) Sunday--did you call or write? Friends and neighbors are separated from Christ--have you invited? Multitudes of families suffer the hurt of separation--are you praying? Many aged live in isolation from the rest of society--will you visit? Others are in prison--will you go?
Until we are serious about healing separations, there is no reason to seek to be called the people of God. Read Matthew 25 again. Go and do likewise!
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