I am a communicator and a pastor. Those roles don’t always intertwine in poignant ways. But today they did.
For reasons that will remain in confidence, I was in court today to watch proceedings. I needed some information for my day job — and that was the only reason I thought I was there. As someone eloquently had prayed earlier, it was my prayer that “justice be served and the innocent be protected.” There I was to witness the outcome.
There was quite a dynamic between the defendant and the reporting party who attended court to plead with the judge to throw out the charges. It was the dynamic of a relationship of love that had been broken and the sorrow in recognition of that fact. The outcome was mostly what they desired, but I left with a heavy burden of sadness for them.
As I left, the attendant at the information desk beckoned me over and then asked: “You’re an associate pastor, right?” Not quite what I was expecting at that moment. It turns out that she attends my church.
So why would I bring this up? Because I think in that moment God reminded me that my calling is more than service on Sunday and service within the context of the place I call church. My service to him is to everyday people in everyday situations.
The two parties in this situation are broken and in need of healing. Before me is an opportunity to extend grace and redemption. This is a burden on my heart and the only response I can imagine is one of faithfulness. So for good or for bad, I have some work cut out for me.
How often are such burdens placed upon us? And how many do we choose to overlook?
For those of us who know God’s message of unconditional love, grace and redemption, we have a never-ending task to share that with others. When God specifically puts such a burden on our hearts, it is disobedience to ignore it. It is my hope that we will do more to make a difference to those around us, even when it seems out of place. Someone needs to hear that they are loved no matter what. That there is healing. There is restoration.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)