I still haven’t gotten my mind wrapped around all of things God was doing at the Passion::Los Angeles regional event from this past weekend. Perhaps I will be able to unpack some of these things soon but the thought of how closely worship and justice are knit together absolutely gripped my heart.
Although I am doing one thing he specifically requested we not do after hearing him speak in saying this, Francis Chan is everything you’d want a speaker to be — dynamic, funny, engaging. I mentioned to our youth group students this morning at church that if God zaps certain people with lightning bolts of communication ability, Francis Chan is definitely one of them. While I certainly appreciate his giftedness, it is the heart of God that comes through so passionately when I have heard him speak.
During one of his messages, he shared about an artist he knows from Thailand who had been teaching children. As she spent time with them, she discovered that child after child had been forced into prostitution. So she did what she knew was right. This artist would enter these brothels, find these children — each beloved, made in the image of God — and literally steal them away from this life of degradation and exploitation. Quickly, she was receiving imminent, credible death threats, so she took all of her children to safety. Today, she awakes every morning to a houseful of rescue, 120 children.
Francis went on to say that he loves college students because they will do crazy things. For example, if he told this gathering of over 3000 college students that he had chartered six planes to go to Thailand so that we could run into these dark places and rescue as many kids as we could, he knew that they would be filled. If those hypothetical planes had been waiting on the tarmac at LAX, even though my college days are distant memory, I would have left that night to go.
Even as I sit here and type these words, my heart rages against the sin, decay and brokenness of our world. How do we live in a world in which evil men and women would abuse children in such unspeakable ways? When Francis brought his oldest daughter out on the stage as he was speaking on this, I could not help but hold my own daughter close to my heart. If it were our daughters out there, we wouldn’t be sitting comfortably in our churches, critiquing the songs — Well, David Crowder shouldn’t have used that Guitar Hero Flying V during Neverending. I would have used the Gibson SG, and on and on — we would move heaven and earth and until they were safe.
They’re all our daughters. Each one of these children upon whom the worst depravity of humanity has been unleashed bears the indelible imprint of our Creator and is unimaginably loved by Him. I love my daughter more and more each year. Becoming a dad is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I would do anything for her, and it is overwhelming to imagine what God’s heart must feel like when He sees what is happening to His children around the world.
My heart felt like it was being crushed in a vice grip when Francis spoke of Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 — they’re all our daughters, they are all created and loved by God and, in some barely comprehensible way, they are all Jesus. Who else could be more aptly described as the least of these? It is unbearable to imagine Jesus — Jesus — hungry, naked, thirsty, imprisoned, voiceless, oppressed and yet, when we choose to bring light into dark places, to come against such horror with redemption and rescue, to allow our worship to overflow into righteousness and justice, we have done it for Him.
To learn more or to find ways to get involved, here some organizations committed to bringing about justice in our broken world:
Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! – Amos 5:23-24