Several days ago I published a post on Measuring $ucce$$ in ministry and shortly after that another featuring names of dear street friends memorialized on the walls of my heart. My thoughts today expand on those, and go in a slightly different direction. It occurs to me that I still pray for some of those friends even though they are deceased. But then I also still pray for The Coronado Project, a ministry that was housing several street-homeless and helping keep families together through artificially (sacrificially) low rental rates. That ministry, it seems, finally exhausted all the grace Lubbock could afford this work and folded up just before the holidays.
What is it that I pray for? Is this just my sentimental heart unwilling to let go? Am I hopeful these people and that ministry will somehow resurrect and come back? Is there more to these prayers than that?
I believe God used those grieving women venturing to that Sunday-morning tomb to be the first witnesses to his resurrection power. Sentiment met hope there that day, and that is entirely biblical and meaningful to God’s heart. We see it in Jesus when he weeps for Lazarus just before raising him from the dead. (Why cry if you are just gonna raise the guy up a moment later???)
But then there is the fact that death does not have the last word. Dead prophets still bear the image of a suffering God. When a homeless person freezes to death in our “Christian” town, the news of it carries within it the image of the God we have neglected. That should be as convicting as looking back at the cross and realizing I was a scoffer there too.
Yes, even if The Coronado Project never comes back to life, it is a testimony of the neglected work of God. Frank Morrison put his own financial life in peril to save others. He got a lot of help, but not enough. His work made the evening news almost nightly for several weeks, especially as it was in the throes of death. A “Christian” city of roughly a quarter million people could not find the will or the way to sacrifice for this great work.
Heaven help us if those poor people now shake the dust off the soles of their feet as a testimony against our lack of hospitality or willingness to listen (Matt. 10:14). We might have entertained angels unaware! (Heb. 13:2), but we will not know now until the Matthew-25:45-Jesus testifies at the coming Judgment of the sheep and goats. And God seems to have a lengthy track record of showing up as a trespassing stranger dating back to Abe and Sarah (Gen. 18) at least.
Yes, those dead prophets and those dead ministries still have the POWER of God to bear God’s image at the place of shame, pain, and despair in this community. Pointing that out to you is prophetic. The possibility of Lubbock seeing Him there, finding conviction and then (hopefully) inspiration… these things are my prayer.