Wednesday, July 23, 2008

DA POPE’S COMIN’ – HE MUCKED EVERYTHING UP! - CROSS PURPOSES 126

DA POPE’S COMIN’ – HE MUCKED EVERYTHING UP!

Hi Guys,

Well, World Youth Day is finished although there are still thousands of WYD Orange backpacks to be seen in Sydney.

One wag in the press here described the pilgrims as the Psalmy Army (as distinct from the Barmy Army). Was amazing to hear guitars/drums and singing of “God songs” in any street, at any time, for the whole week.

Thought I’d tell you about my encounter with the Newsagent. Early Saturday morning I went to buy the paper – and the agent looked so sad. Asked him how it’s been and he said “Da Pope’s comin’ – he mucked it all up!” Translation: business took a real dive while his holiness was in town. The pilgrims weren’t covering for his usual custom and customers.

I think the pope’s coming did muck up a few things.

1. Too much going on in town so we at St Pauls met in the 4 ‘house churches’ instead.

2. Certainly some businesses did miss out. The pilgrims, who took all accommodation for miles in any direction, weren’t necessarily rich. Nor was shopping their foremost agenda.

3. Another group missed out badly. The pubs and nightclubs. Oxford St is around the corner from where we live. It’s home to dozens of Nightclubs and lots of Hotels. To walk along it early Saturday morning or Sunday morning is to be confronted by hosts of young people pouring out onto the street from all night binge-drinking, dancing and partying, all mixed with Ice or whatever the latest concoction is. Many can’t stand on their own two feet, and must be supported by equally ‘out of it’ friends. The gutters become emergency seating, and the vomit is there for all to see and smell, and step in if you are unlucky.

But not last weekend. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings it was quiet, clean and safe. The usual sense of darkness hanging over the street was gone. The NORM got mucked up. And it wasn’t the Pope. It was the Spirit of Jesus Christ himself who effected that change!

See, the real agenda of World Youth Day wasn’t the Pope – it was the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Gospel, coupled with the call to worship and sacrifice. And a community operating under that agenda and spirit – well, things change.

To quote 67 year old Merle Pollack (SMH 21/7/08)
“there was something there in the energy…JUST THE QUIETNESS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE WONDERFUL CLEANLINESS OF EVERYTHING.”

I’ve returned to that thought many times in the last 36 hours…THE WONDERFUL CLEANLINESS OF EVERYTHING… I think she hit on deep truth! Day in day out we live in this world. The powers and structures that support it, which demand our attention and truth daily – well, they pollute us and defile us. We are confronted and put upon by their perversions and diversions. They ask for, indeed demand, our worship. We feel contaminated! We long to be clean and free.

And? YOU ARE ALREADY MADE CLEAN BY THE WORDS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU. So speaks Jesus of Nazareth. John 15:3. His best speaking – his best word – is Calvary. The gift of a clean heart flows out in a clean life.

Praise his name!

Fred

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