…to dry these tears, dry my body, rub off the dirt, the spit, the filth people speak of me…and our Lord?
I see the poor standing at the edge of a pool watching the rich splash each other with clear clean water… and I hear them groan a whisper, If only I could have a drink of that water.
It is fund raising day at our local day spa and while they are fund raising, I’m thinking about the woman who asked for a shower pass, I’m thinking about bathing when there is no house to bathe in and I am thinking about the Holy Spirit who listens, who hears, and Who, with an anointed towel, wipes away every tear.
God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
As I write this I am fighting a fungus called ring worm- it’s NOT a worm, it’s a fungus and I need to shower and I need to rinse myself in tee tree oil and I need a towel to wipe the drips and to wipe away the tears that come from the reality that I am afflicted by such a thing. I can’t imagine the greater difficulty this would be without a shower, or a towel…. so humbled am I… and if you are among a select group of religious elite you might say this is His judgement, the Lord’s… but listen…
you might hear something more…
something of great value…
a greater thing.
I see a church. It is shiny and beautiful with a beautiful temple and at her doors are lined shiny people, dressed in gold and finery, clean shaven, beautiful… and one by one their hands are shaken, their money taken , their positions secure at a wedding feast in a temple with beautiful tapestries of biblical significance…
and one by one
and creak by creak
the door…the door closes, and there…
there she stands outside… the Shulamite bride. She was and is today the one once forgotten. She is dark. She is dirty. She smells, not of perfume, but of the aroma of the streets and this, this is the most intoxicating fragrance to our Lord…but you, oh great one, (I speak of the church), oh great sepulchre, have closed your doors and left her in the city streets, you have left her cold and hungry, kept at arms length and starved for a word of comfort.
I will go to her, says the Lord. I will leave my palace and find the one, says the Lord. I will find her. I will search for her and find her, and when I do, those who closed their doors to her, will find themselves in the very same city streets, abandoned and forgotten (Ezekiel 12:11)… I have a towel. I will wash her, says the Lord of Hosts. I will lead my people to her. I will send them to every vagrant, every lowly person who has tasted the earth and risen rejoicing because they know I Am for them and NOT against them.
I am for you, my beloved Shulamite…it is you, dark one, soiled one. You are Gomer, you are Shulamite, you are the one at the well and know this, KNOW THIS- I have NOT forgotten you! At every turn, every eye-roll, every discourteous glance of judgement and disgraceful proclamation I have kept record!!! I have kept record (Amos 4)! I contend within me now, the means by which I will restore you—-the spoils are YOURS not theirs, declares the Lord of Hosts. Render the return! Render the just portion for now injustice is slaughtered by My Justice, declares the Lord!!! You have something to say, so speak! Be released now, as you read, now as you hear, now as you sense- that I am a restorer of fortunes and you, my beloved are so valuable, so much more valuable than a man’s idea of Who I Am or a person’s idea of where I dwell. Oh my dear one, I dwell in you. I live in you. Do not leave me on the inside like so many houses…. take me to the streets where we will parade around as the undignified, loving a nonjudgmental Father who loves ALL!
Don’t throw in the towel now! Pick it up, wipe away your tears and know this; I HAVE found you! I WILL fight EVERY adversary who has set himself up against you! If you know Me, you will receive the least of these with honor and gratitude. How I have tarried. How I have waited for the ready wine at My Father’s cellar door, waiting for this moment! Leave the doors open and enter the city streets- tear down the city gates to find my beloved!!! For there, on the city streets, you will find her, yearning for her Lord, yearning for her Savior and she doesn’t look the part!!! She is not fair skinned, she is not clean and perfumed…her fragrance reaches the very room of my Father, declares the Lord.
Go now!!!! He awaits her arrival and she is waiting for you, CHURCH– go to her! You are the restorer of this breach, reaching out to the homeless poor from one end of redemption that you were afforded now offering the same redemption to a beloved group of people who have been avoided and not given the invitation! She is MY SHULAMITE! (Song of Solomon 1:1-6) declares the Bride Groom! She is made up of SONS and DAUGHTERS!!! Go find her now!!! Cry out! Make the clarion call! You know her– already you know her in your life: she is the maligned, she is the forgotten, she is the bruised and broken, she is the poor monetarily, poor in spirit, poor in status and “she” is NOT male or female- there is no gender that can identify her other than the son of God who looks and sees His bride— that is why there is neither male nor female!
This is so much bigger than semantics… this is a romance… this is a dance… this is a love affair of greatest portion, proportion!!! Jesus is offering His hand to you, will you take it and find His bride!? She might even be sitting right next to you on the subway or the cushion chair in the waiting room, she might be building your home or the homes of many in many different forms (concrete, spiritual, emotional…even one of your own family members), she might be flexing her muscles working out with you, she may be sitting in the obvious place, hands held out, and a sign, a basket, a bushel filled with treasures-to-her-treasures. Don’t limit the possibilities of where you might find her. She is not a male or a female. She is a bride, The Bride!
Mark 10:8 New International Version (NIV) …and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Are you ready to grab onto the hands of the least of these and bring them into the wedding feast- is your oil ready? Are you full? It’s time to find her… you’re only going to receive MORE oil for looking- the wedding date is set!!!
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40.
Find all of the parts, gather her together!
“‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests (Matthew 22:8-10).” Find them in the gyms, the businesses, the studios, the beauty queens, the schools, for there is neither male nor female, gentile nor Jew, slave nor free but we are all sons—- AND we are His bride— and the TWO SHALL BECOME ONE!!!
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus.
Where is the bridegroom!?!?!? He is on the inside of you, BRIDE!!! Now, for those who
do not yet know, bring them into the fold of unity. I sense such urgency and that urgency IS the PASSION of the Bridegroom!!!!!!! The date has been set- hand me a towel so I may rise, and dry myself off from my baths of preparation for my wedding night with the king (Esther 2:12) . Go find ALL of her!!!
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. John 13:3-5.
Oh my Jesus, I am ruined for you….such an intimate act. The church has closed its doors for too long. Now is the time to act, not from a distance, not with the sleight of hand of the monthly tithe, or the hand out at the soup kitchen, rather, hands-on a people group with whom our Lord and Savior personally identifies. Like Christ, we are to make ourselves vulnerable, transparent and without intending judgement, wash the dirtiest part of the body…and it is in that act we see the Lord take such care, such humility, such love…that part of the body of Christ, the homeless and poor. Go find them. Go love them. Go, invite them into the feast and speak His word over them, washing not only their feet, but all of them. The date has been set! …and as you go, you will hear Him say to that lost precious one, “I found you,” and this you will speak together, as one.
Matthew 22:1-14English Standard Version (ESV)
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”