Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sorting Clothes

After volunteering at a rescue mission for an hour and half, being pretty pleased with myself, a friend and I asked an employee if they needed more help. It seemed to surprise and please him that we came from the seminary. They needed more seminarians, he said. Not many help out.

It convicted me, because I think all to often I hear Paul’s charge to Timothy, “Preach the Word,” or Jude’s urgent need to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints”—the most holy and primary of concerns. And as a young minister-in-training with scenes from films such as Saving Private Ryan or We Were Soldiers or The Great Raid flashing through my head, visions of heroic and faithful fortitude – preaching or penning against the principalities and powers of darkness, proclaiming the primacy and validity and necessity of the historic and eternal and revealed faith—these charges dimple my skin and enkindle my emotions and I want to fight on the front lines of this righteous war.

And I forget—no, ignore—the equally inspired charge of James, to care for orphans and widows, an act of pure and undefiled religion. To sort through clothes piled to the ceiling in a rescue mission, to move boxes and dump garbage, to clear out rooms so that victims can have a room to sleep in. Things so much less glorious and glamorous or exciting than gawking in the face of the enemy and spitting or writing truth in power onto his face. But these are, still, a part of the war, caring for the victims, being a nurse. Honoring and becoming and being like Christ.

Sorting clothes.

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