Two evenings ago I was in a community meeting held in our area of London concerning a shooting just up the road from the church and a murder the previous week in the neighbouring district. I came home from that meeting in the evening and turned the news on the TV to find that a boy of 11 had been shot dead in the city of Liverpool. This follows a spate of fatal stabbings and shootings of young people in the UK.
The local meeting was called for by concerned residents. Present in that meeting were the police, elected local representatives, local council officials. A lot was said by local residents, a lot was promised by police and local government. Despite these many words, the word that strongly laid on my heart was "vacuum." There is a terrible vacuum in our society and that vacuum has to be filled.
Filling the vacuum
There might be many reasons given why young people get involved in gangs and violence, and there is only so much that the state can do to stem the flow of violence. Many ideas were given in this meeting, many fears were expressed. But these things will not fill the vacuum, rather the vacuum will only be filled by the power of God.
I believe that as churches we need to become more engaged with our communities. Salt is meant to get out of the salt cellars, and light is meant to be displayed.
I hope that this post might inspire someone to get involved in their community. There is a danger of being so involved in church life that we fail to engage in our community. Church meetings are very important, but we are not called to fill our lives with church meetings, but to change the society in which we live. While we must have Spirit-saturated meetings, we need to receive God's word, and be drenched in His presence, these things are not an end in themselves.
Moving out in the glory
The purpose of the cloud of glory is not only to make us feel good, but to transform the whole community. We are to be drenched in the cloud of glory, but He goes with us into the highways and byways of the streets around your church and around your home.
We are called to follow in the steps of Jesus, and leave the safety of our church meetings and the fellowship of other believers and get out and engage with those around us and to serve our community. This is not the social gospel, but the glory gospel - as we serve in the power of His presence, people become aware of the reality of the Lord.
We have something that the world cannot offer. God has called us to be the means of filling the vacuum. Society will never be in order until the glory of God is seen. So let us get the light, get the glory in our worship meetings, in our prayer meetings and then let us get out and take the glory with us!
The first step is seeking God, being utterly secure in His grace, and praying that the cloud of glory would fall upon us. The next is being available to the Lord. Like Isaiah, "Here I am, send me." (Isaiah 6v8). And He will open doors.
Imagine meeting with young gang members and having word of wisdom that sets them free. Imagine serving in a homeless shelter and seeing people delivered from the power of alcohol addiction. Imagine serving in a hospital and seeing whole wards healed by the power of God. Imagine visiting the elderly and by the patience and compassion that God gives you, hearts are softened and people come to the Lord. Imagine advising parents from God's Word how to parent, and them seeing the reality of God, as His principles work.
Let us get the glory, and let us take the glory out. It is only His glory that can fill the vacuum.