Saturday, May 15, 2010
Saturday night and I'm in my usual place, making sure my brain and the powerpoint for tomorrow are both ready. But this time last week, Bunny and I were in New Orleans and were off the "grid." Normally, I'd have written all week about what we experienced, but for some reason I didn't feel that I could adequately do that without some time to look back and reflect on just what we saw and did.
New Orleans got to me.
The picture above was of the Cathedral as the sun was going down. Last Saturday night we happened to be down there on the square as a wedding party came out of the cathedral. The bells rang in joy and the whole effect was almost magical. That area was just stunning, and yet it also was a place where the people who seemed to be "lost" in every sense of the word congregated. There were several fortune tellers at any time, people who dressed weirdly and people had their pictures taken with them, musicians (including one guy on a recorder that was awful), and street people.
Despite the location near to the most beautiful church exterior in NOLA, it seemed to me that the "light of the world" was unplugged. We were down there every single night and at no time did we see any hint of Christian influence and only heard one attempt at "Amazing Grace." Hint - it helps to know the words. The darkness especially in the French Quarter really bothered me while we were there and still does. I was frankly stunned by it and woefully unprepared to "do something" about it. I've wondered since that given the churches in the area, the presence of seminaries including New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary just a few miles away, why groups of musicians couldn't come down every night and sing. Why couldn't compassion teams check on the street people - build relationships with the fortune tellers and the like - why couldn't Jesus be seen down there every day.
If you remember, a while back I wrote about how many children are dying from lack of clean water, from treatable illnesses, and I posed this question: Are you okay with that?
Fair enough? Given we can do something about it?
Well, are we okay with giving the devil the French Quarter in New Orleans?
We (the Church - all of us) have to do better. We have to be great at the Great Commission - everywhere.
Pray for New Orleans. Pray that God would raise up a mighty wave of grace and love that would flood the French Quarter and bring glory to Jesus and people to faith in Him.