Well the Olympics is over, now what? It was a great spectacle watching elite athletes run, jump, and dive with finesse in the pursuit of a gold, silver, or bronze medal. But the reality is that millions of people chew candy on the couch and watch a few doing something. There are countless kids around the world who spend unimaginable hours playing computer games and living in a virtual reality. It’s harmless entertainment until someone rings an alarm bell and declares obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in North America – passivity and a spectator mentality are not renowned for building muscle tone, physical endurance, or high self esteem.
“Where do you live?” I ask myself, “On the field or in the bleachers?” I was catching up with a friend in England a few months ago and we were looking through some old photographs when we were all much younger. “Far away and a long time ago,” was the wistful comment. Certainly looking back has memories, some good and others best left well alone.
Today I received a newsletter from Ruth Fazal whom I met at a Graham Cooke conference in California five years ago. She’s an extremely accomplished musician on keyboard and violin and is currently living in Jerusalem. Her mother is very ill in England and she returned to Israel after a brief visit to her dying mother’s bedside. She wrote….On arriving at the hospital I found my mum conscious, and so so grateful to see me. It was tearful, and somehow completely right. Hard to explain, but you know when words and looks are exchanged that just express so much love. My whole time with her was like that. She was coherent, although extremely weak, and very much wanting to leave this world for the next. I was able to release her and express all those things that needed to be said. She really has been a most selfless mother and wife.
I spent Sunday from late afternoon with her, and then most of the day on Monday ……. When the time came to leave yesterday, and as my mum and I held each other close, she said to me ‘You really must go. You really must go. I know all the wonderful things that you are doing. You must go now, and live your life’ These words, spoken to me on my birthday, were the greatest gift ever to me.
From the bedside of a dying woman, the last words spoken to a beloved daughter bring life not only to her, but to those of us given the privilege of eavesdropping on an intimate and private moment. They are words of commission and release that encourage her to not look back, nor to be chained to the past, but to step into the future with boldness as a participant.
Such is the passionate heartbeat of Jericho Road Church and community, it’s our commission and mandate. To call, equip, and encourage as many as possible to follow Jesus into an exciting and adventurous future. Spectators on roads get killed by the passing traffic. The safest place to be is on the move. Paul learned that lesson as he came to terms with a past that could have crippled and haunted him with guilt for the rest of his life. Instead he received the forgiveness and grace of Jesus on the Cross and moved forward with incredible giftings released for teaching, evangelism and healing. He wrote to the Philippians (3:13)… “But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me….” Which is what Ruth’s mother said: “You really must go, and live your life.”