"The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground." -Genesis 19:1
So, Im looking up information on some leads of potential and verified sex offenders within a few blocks of our church; at the request of someone who has been experiencing unsettling and possibly criminal behaviors from some of the locals. So I'm knee deep in police mug shots and words like: child rape, molestation, crime, convicted, sex offender, warning...etc..and I get a phone call from another woman in the church.
She tells me she has a vision to share with me concerning the church garden. So she begins to recount this vision God gave her of angels in the garden, and an explosion of celestial inspired spiritual growth that she saw in the garden vision. There were dancing angles, rushing winds of the Spirt of God who was blowing the fragrances of beauty into surrounding parts of our city from this little eden. The working of the supernatural work of God that was expressed in the images of powerful fragrant winds was powerfully impressed on this sincere woman. She related the vision to me and expressed her excitement about the future work of God among us and through us. I thanked her and asked if she would write it down, so we could hold it in prayer and believe it into reality as we work towards such ministry impact.
As I got off the phone, the irony of the two previous moments, so diametrically opposed, crashing together, didn't escape me. The ability to hold these conflicting realities in tension and not lose faith to fear or become over dazzled by potentials is sometimes paralyzing...probably Like finding Angles in the streets of Sodom.
So often the challenge of urban ministry is "seeing" the angels in the devils. Finding the beauty among the decay. Scrubbing away for life...when death is urinating on every street corner.
I find myself praying for grace and a enduring spirit like Paul who honestly recounted the challenges of ministry: "We wear ourselves out from working with our own hands. When insulted, we bless. When persecuted, we endure." -1 Cor 4:12
I too, like Lot, am in the gates of Sodom...the people go about their lives an ever stretching drama of blood, failure, darkness and encroaching sin. And yet as I sit trying to disciple the saved and reach the lost among the local masses and the demonic rhythms of some dark band are pumping through the sound system of the local coffee shop...Im reminded, that there are still Angels in Sodom.
Angel's use to come for judgment....their presence meant wrath was about to fall.
But now...the Angels come as ministers of life...thier arrival, speaks of grace and forthcoming blessing...not fire.
But even still the bizarreness of it all sometimes overwhelms me...