homeless camp

god’s rag-tag army

I think God must be very old and very tired…. God’s been on the march a long time, you know.  And look at God’s rag-tag little army! All he has for soldiers are you and me.  Dumb little army.

homeless elderly

Listen!  The drum beat isn’t even regular.  Everyone is out of step.  And there!  You see?  God keeps stopping along the way to pick up one of God’s tinier soldiers who decided to wander off and play with a frog, or run in a field, or whose foot got tangled in the underbrush.  God will never get anywhere that way.  And yet, the march goes on.


homeless childrenDo you see how the marchers have broken up into little groups?  Look at that group up near the front. Now, there’s a snappy outfit… –at least they’re in step with each other.  Only they’re not wearing their shoes. They’re carrying them in their hands.  Silly little band.  They won’t get far before God will have to stop again.

homeless

Or how about that other group over there?  They’re all holding hands as they march.  The only trouble with this is the people on each end of the line.  Pretty soon they realize that one of their hands isn’t holding onto anything–one hand is reaching, empty, alone.   And so they hold hands with each other, and everybody marches around in circles.  The more people holding hands, the bigger the circle.  And, of course, a bigger circle is deceptive because as we march along it looks like we’re going someplace, but we’re not.  And so God must stop again. You see what I mean?  He’ll never get anywhere that way!

homeless circle dancing

If God were more sensible he’d take his little army and shape them up.  Why, whoever heard of a soldier stopping to romp in a field?  It’s ridiculous.  But even more absurd is a general who will stop the march of eternity to go and bring the soldier back.  But that’s God for you.   His is no endless, empty marching. He is going somewhere. His steps are deliberate and purposive.   He may be old, and he may be tired.  But he knows where he’s going.   And he means to take every last one of his tiny soldiers with him.  Only there aren’t going to be any forced marches.  And, after all, there are frogs and flowers, and thorns and underbrush along the way.  And even though our foreheads have been signed with the sign of the cross, we are only human.   And most of us are afraid and lonely and would like to hold hands or cry or run away.  And we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t seem to trust God–especially when it’s dark out and we can’t see him!  And he won’t go on without us.  And that’s why it’s taking so long. 

homeless lost

Listen!  The drum beat isn’t even regular.  Everyone is out of step.  And there! You see?  God keeps stopping along the way to pick up one of God’s tinier soldiers who decided to wander off and play with a frog, or run in a field, or whose foot got tangled in the underbrush.  God will never get anywhere that way. 

And yet, the march goes on.

Martin Bell

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