When Canaries Fall
The problem for you and for me, however, is that we cannot leave the mine except by one of two exits. You and I are required to fix the problems before more canaries fall. That's part of the responsibility we bear because we've been adopted into The Father's household. There is no leaving for us - except to death or to the Kingdom of God - and we're responsible for what happens here. We will answer - I believe - for that which we could have done and refused to do (and future generations will most certainly pay the price for both our sins of commission as well as our sins of omission). If we don't fix the problems, the "mine" becomes less and still less like the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. However, if in the Power of The Holy Spirit, we pursue the reconciliation of the problems in the mine (and the rescue of the canaries), the mine can become the Kingdom of God (in His Righteousness). Do you not see the canaries falling? It appears to me that every day, while there are always more and still more, fewer and fewer are healthy and singing.
Now, where are the canaries that I'm referencing? I see them being abused at home as little children; I see them hopelessly hiding in the back of school classrooms; I see them hanging out on street corners, waiting for someone to give some sort of meaning to their presence here on Earth. Believe me when I say that the drug dealers or gang leaders or terror cell psychopaths will certainly be delighted to give something like meaning - however brief - to their existences. I see them being locked away in juvenile corrections, placed conveniently out of the way, until they can become "someone else's" problem. I see them being lost to the adult corrections system, from which too many times, there is no coming back. I see them deserted in "nursing care" facilities (not that they don't need full time care... but who said they had to be deserted?) and I see them existing in cardboard boxes and in slums too filthy to imagine.
These are just a few of the "canaries" that I see falling. Do you really not see them? How in the name of Heaven's Grace can you POSSIBLY believe that any genetic legacy you might produce or any American Dream that you might pursue can be more important than rescuing those who are perishing? Are you really even a Christian?
Our beloved Senior Pastor and his pastoral staff (and lil' ole me) are all agreed on the concept that we believers MUST love the vulnerable ones (the canaries) as if they are our own. In my terms, that means that we MUST adopt them. We must aggressively CLAIM them as members of our family (cuz' you can believe the enemy is aggressively recruiting them for his evil purposes) . Awww, you don't like the way they smell and speak? (tsk, tsk) You don't like their values or the places they go or the places they live? You don't like their habits or the way they dress? WELLLLllllll, then! Guess who else was pretty smelly and lost and worthless and misdirected when Jesus came to get (adopt) you and me? That would be ME.... and YOU!!
Not all of the government programs or NGO programs or even all of the church programs can substitute for you and me building relationships with the vulnerable. It was through relationship with YOU (and with me) that the Christ of God claimed us! It will be through personal relationships with the last, the lost and the least that you and I will adopt the "canaries" into the family of God! Sure, passing laws is a fine thing to do (if you're willing to pay to have the laws enforced) but it is only in RELATIONSHIPS that we can bring about the reconciliation that MUST happen. No amount of legislation can get us in to the Kingdom of Heaven.
They really are all around us. And sometimes you're a canary and sometimes I'm a canary and sometimes ALL of us just need Jesus with skin on to come and get us and take us home. That's part of the reason why He's willing to share Himself with us, so that we can be enabled to love like He has loved us.
Now, I've said all of that so that I can say this: one of the "canaries" that I don't hear singing is the "song voice" that represents our sincere desire to claim the vulnerable. Get it? The very spirit of willingness to care for the vulnerable is one of the canaries that's NOT singing right now. Remember, we can't leave the mine. We HAVE to transform the mine to the point that that canary (that precious, Holy Spirit) can freely sing and fly among us. Again, WE CAN'T LEAVE THE MINE, except to death. And we cannot go into the Kingdom of Heaven unless we're taking the vulnerable persons with us. In other words, we have to deal with the situation HERE, we have to make straight the highways for The King and we have to pull down the obstacles and fill in the rough places. We have to make the "mine" a safe place for ALL of the vulnerable aspects of God's creation because in a way, those vulnerable aspects of God's creation represent the Holy Spirit among us. No safety for the vulnerable, no presence of The Holy Spirit. No presence of The Holy Spirit, no safety for anyone.
So, we seek His wisdom regarding fixing the problems in the mine (and we REALLY need to get busy). And we seek His power regarding rescuing the falling canaries (there are SO many) but I sincerely believe that as we invest His resources in those who are vulnerable now, they can be enabled to be rescuers as well. We have each other, we have our adopted "children" and we can have canaries singing while we work the mine. The choices are ours.
"Adopt ye, one another, even as I have adopted you..."