“I begged Your disciples to liberate him from this spirit, but they were incapable of helping us.” -frustrated man to Jesus
Incapable of helping.
It’s a phrase that can leave one feeling less than able to make a difference at times. Unmet expectations. People with real needs, serious situations, requests, demands and denunciations because of your inability or unwillingness to comply with their script of how you should act or respond. Caught in the confusing crux of spirit and humanity, wrestling with the challenges of opportunity and the maddening button pushing that goes with it all. So much of ministry and mission in this season seems about revealing how incapable I am at times. Moments in mission that play me like an awkward marionette and I don’t like the unnatural look of it all…but you’ve got to just keep dancing.
Someone’s pants hanging on a bush, underwear on the ground and one shoe under the bench…odd leftover crumbs from unknown stories.
Someone outside of a parked van, clothes and stuff all strewn out on the sidewalk, changing or rummaging through everything. Life being lived out of a car.
Woman climbing the locked fence to get back behind the church building. I come out and tell her she isn’t supposed to be there, she ignores me and continues climbing and going back there anyway.
Someone dismantled the brick flower pots in the garden.
Doorbell ringing early in the morning while still in bed, because someone needs bus money.
Doorbell ringing because someone would rather me take them to another part of town than ride the bus.
Prayer request from a disabled woman from the neighborhood via the phone: “I need prayer for problems ‘down there’. I refer to her to my wife.
“How are you?” I ask a young man in the neighborhood I haven’t talked to in awhile. He tells me that the water is turned off in his home. Just more evidence that parents drug use hurt kids.
Face to face confrontation with a racing motorcycle guy who almost always speeds down 5th ave.
Looking down on a old friend in a hospital bed whose mind is eclipsing all memory and his face is peeling terribly from skin rash.
A man screaming and carrying on a conversation in unintelligible gibberish while disrobing and arguing with the universe.
Standing in a water damaged newly renovated nursery, trying to vacuum up the flood from the apartment above us that forgot to tell anyone they had a major leak a few days prior. The just renovated and expanded nursery now smells of cat piss.
Yes, but sometimes you do that and stuff doesn’t change.
They came down the mountain, and the next day yet another huge crowd gathered around Jesus. There was a man in the crowd who shouted out. “Teacher! Please come and look at my son here, my only child. From time to time, a demonic spirit seizes him. It makes him scream and go into convulsions. He foams at the mouth. It nearly destroys him and only leaves after causing him great distress. While You were up on the mountain, I begged Your disciples to liberate him from this spirit, but they were incapable of helping us.”