What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?

I was getting ready for church this morning (yes, you read that right).  I dug out some old tunes to get my mind set for the morning ahead.   One song caught my attention.

“Built for Glory, Made to Last” – The Lost Dogs – Scenic Routes – 1992

Found an old man lying on the street
Thought I’d do my good deed.
I wrapped my coat around him and brought him food to eat
With labored breath he struggled
But his eyes held heaven’s light
He whispered, “Young man, don’t feel bad for me
It’ll all work out all right”

‘Cause I was built for glory

I was made to last
God formed these feet to walk golden streets when this hard life is passed
Say, “He’s doing well on the other side” if anybody asks
Say I was built for glory
I was made to last

He said, “I’ve been a Texas Ranger
And I’ve been a railroad man
Lost two sons to consumption
I lost my money in a get-rich scam
Buried my wife 15 years ago
That’s when I took to the road
I’m too crippled now to walk again
But I’ll walk the streets of gold”

I asked, “What’s your name?”
He shook his head
Said, “It don’t really matter
I’m just another poor soul out on the street whose reward’s in the great hereafter
And Jesus been a friend of mine when all others pass me by
But He led you here so I could say these words before I die”

The old man held me by the hand and sighed his final breath
Now his spirit is in heaven while his body is at rest
Today I’m making it my mission to help others understand
We’re all fish out of water
Strangers in a foreign land

We were built for glory
We were made to last
God formed our feet to walk golden streets when this hard life is passed
It’s time to make your peace with God ’cause this life’s over fast
We were built for glory
We were made to last

As I listened to the song, the lyrics hit me hard.  Throughout the song a narrative is being set before us,  a story of this man’s life, a story filled with loss and heartache, lost love and fortune.  I’ve heard this song countless times before, but for some reason, this time was different.  I was moved.  I got very emotional.

When you take the time to learn the story of another person, we become emotionally attached.  The faceless person now has a heart, a mind, a soul.

Yes, there are people out there, trying to break the rules.  There are people taking advantage of the system.  This has always been and always will be.  When we are detached from something it is easy to dismiss what one assumes to understand.

The homeless person on the street becomes another bum who needs to get a job.

The mother of 4, struggling to make ends meet, desperately relying on public assistance, becomes a welfare mother, breaking the rules to take advantage of my tax dollars.

We don’t know these people, but we preach at them our thoughts and criticisms.

Speaking of preaching, isn’t it ironic how with the white male pastor, convicted of sexual misconduct, many within in the church are quick to remind us “all are innocent before proven guilty”?    We are to believe their story,  their words… which always happens to be the furthest from their actions.    Sounds a lot to me like the parable of the wicket servant.  It’s a gross double standard.

John Pavlovitz, in his book “A Bigger Table – Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community”, reminds us how Christ saw those around him as equals.  The tax collector, the blind, the leper, the pharisee, and the child.  These are the people Jesus invited to his table.  He dined, He fed, he met them where they were.

“Rich and poor have this in common:  The Lord is the Maker of them all.”  Proverbs 22:2*

In the last couple of years, I’d dive into any internet battle dealing with the lack of acceptance in the church.  I would proudly proclaim “If Jesus was here today the last place he would be is in your church!”

John’s book showed me how wrong I was.

Jesus reached out the all people, even though he did not see eye to eye with them.  Jesus went to find common ground.  A relationship.  He knew their story, yet he still wanted them just the way they were.  Perfect in his eyes.

Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they’re not fearfully and wonderfully made.  Just because someone strikes you on the cheek doesn’t mean they are not a child of God.

Last week, I watched an unknown person attack a friend of mine.  Through the ongoing dialogue between the unknown person and many others, I asked this person.

“Do you know how much Jesus loves you?  Well, that’s how much he loves us rainbow sporting weirdos this very moment.  Faults, blemishes, warts and all.”.

As I went to bed that night, a peace fell over me.  I didn’t go to bed angry.  I went to be happy.  Happy to know that there is a common ground.  I just have to keep working to find it.

“We’re all fish out of water
Strangers in a foreign land.”

Now, more than ever…. Keep Loving.


*I want the record to show I paid attention during church. This scripture verse was a part of the selected reading.  Pretty timely, eh?