It is time for the Church of the Most High God to wake up! We proudly declare we are Christians but our words and our actions do not line up. Jesus asks us to care for those in need, the poor, the fatherless and the widow but we are more concerned about building large edifices to show our successes. Our million-dollar buildings are empty all week, left for a Saturday and Sunday morning service to show off our wonderful light fixtures and padded pews.
Sitting in our pews are broken men, women and children. Our teenaged boys are prostituting themselves to older men for money not to feed a youthful lust for the latest clothes and shoes but to feed themselves, their brothers and sisters. Our girls are left to find father-figures who rob them of their virtue so they can put clothes on their backs to go to school because their mothers no longer feel it their duty to finance their education.
Our churches sit empty when hundreds of children are being educated in slums and taught a less than sub-standard level of reading and mathematics because no one is called to sacrifice and teach.
Our churches sit empty and we do not open them to teach our young women how to live pure and how to overcome the desire to take what is offered today for a more enriching life tomorrow. Our young men have no role models. They see their fathers too busy having a drink after work or getting in a few more hours with the other women in our whore houses and they have no true example of how to be a man.
Our shepherds gladly accept the mantles of bishops, deacons, prophets, apostles but lie to our people that all is well and never tell them that sin has consequences. We have now sold our ability to be God’s mouthpieces for the sake of keeping our mortgages up to date and our fancy cars filled with gas.
Where are the Shepherds who sought God in the midnight hour to give them a word for His people? Where are the Shepherds’ wives who are also called but have kept silent for the sake of not outdoing their men because they are too insecure to let a woman speak? Where are the children of the Shepherd who by mere birth also inherited the same call but ran because they could not stomach the falsehoods and lying images?
God is calling us all to speak for Him again. He is asking for all of His Shepherds to rise up and declare that He is the true and living God.
St. Maarten’s future does not lie in the hands of the politicians. It does not lie in the hands of the businessmen on Frontstreet or Backstreet or Simpsonbay. This island’s future lies in the hands of the men and women of God who will seek Him and declare again that He is God.
This is not about everyone jumping in the newspapers or on television to write more opinion pieces against homosexuality or other illicit vices. It is about each of us living a life that declares God is our Lord. We do this when we show love to each other, when our churches are no longer a battle zone and people in need can really walk into our buildings and find help.
The events of the past four months in my own life show very clearly that our Shepherds and the flock are focused on another path and not the one God is calling us to. I walked into a church to pray one day and with the weight of my burden I crumbled in the seat. The priests response to seeing me was I should sleep at home. He did not ask what was my burden or if he could pray with me. He did not know that the reason I was there was because I had no home to go to.
Why would God choose to do this to me? I have served Him all my life. I grew up in the church. I know passages by heart and can sing many songs without a song book. But do I really know Him and does He know me?
Depart from me I know you not, is what Jesus will say to many who now prophesy in his name and lay hands on the sick. Many who open the church doors every week will also be asked to leave because He will not recognize their works which were done not for His glory but for their own.
We must turn back to the God of our Salvation. We must be willing to forsake the comfort of our own lives and the security that the world offers to share His love.
There is coming a day very soon when we will clearly see who or what we serve. The shame that is coming on many international preachers will not bypass St. Maarten. The sins in the darkness will be manifested in the clear light of day and none will be left standing. God will no longer tolerate us using His name in vain. Telling His people all is well but ignoring the sin they live in.
When we are tried only the gold will be left. When the heat is applied what impurities will come to the surface? We get to decide if this is done in secret or if He must shame us openly for us to turn to Him.
At the end of this time it has not mattered how much I knew God but if He really knew me. So time and time again over the past four months I saw God use strangers to shelter me and feed me. I watched Him perform miracles each day by the hands of people that the church would not approve of. I watch my brothers and sisters smile and turn their heads so as not to notice my need. Those that spoke or gave hugs never asked ‘How are you doing? Can I help?’ Never a day went by that I did not eat or sleep at peace. Never a night did my heart not cry because Jesus was being put on trial and none could be found to plead His case. It saddens me as I know it saddens the heart of God because there are many who need help but they find we the Church closed. There are many who need counsel but cannot afford a therapist. Our teenagers are considering suicide at an alarming rate and we don’t notice. We shake hands and say God bless you as we head off to do ‘the Lord’s work’ but we never find out if they have a need.
There are many walking around dressed well and dying of HIV, cancer and other diseases. Others live in despair and distraught because they work in less than satisfactory conditions, their children go to schools surrounded by violence and sewage water. Our women sleep with strangers and the pastor to pay the rent and put food on their table. When Sunday comes they stand to lead worship feeling shamed and bound. Our girls get pregnant and we rush them off for abortions not telling them that a God of mercy still reigns and Jesus died for their mistakes.
What would happen if rather than a quick ‘God bless you’ we took the time to listen? We would find that even with meager resources we have a wealth of ideas to share that can change someone’s situation. What would happen if every church started a school to educate the children of the members that pay their tithes and give large offerings? Not for money because they can never afford the real cost of education but because they are precious resource that God wants to know Him?
What would happen if rather than ostracize people who make mistakes we again see them through the eyes of Christ and embrace them with much more than a nod? What would happen if rather than condemn homosexuality we create an environment that fosters their healing? What would happen if rather than give to people who we feel can benefit us, we gave to those who don’t stick around to say thank you or who will never be able to pay us back in kind?
God’s heart is crying out once again for His Church to be His Church. The cry will always comes to His chosen first but if we do not heed it, He will go and find others more ready to listen and obey. You will know this new remnant because their words won’t be as fancy and they haven’t mastered the art of the 30-minute motivational talk. They will not look ‘right’ or ‘act’ right. They will be foolish to us and we will be confounded. We will wonder why they are succeeding when we ‘God’s Children’ are broken and in poverty. The world won’t come to us for help when we are in a worst condition than they are. They will seek the answers from a source that has what they need. Will we be the ones with the answers?
No Fancy Titles, Just a Woman with a Heart to Teach