Summary: In addition to Christ, the church needs the faith and action of seekers in order to overcome its obstacles.
"Are You Ready To Walk" -Reverend A. LaMar Torrence, Pastor of Cross of Life Lutheran Church
Someone once said that ‘nothing gives you quite the thrill of treading in the darkness on a step that is not there.’ Often in this life, we must walk upon steps with the uncertainty of their support. We often put our best foot forward without knowing where we are going. We walk down dark paths unsure of what’s waiting for us around the next corner. Our footsteps are not always sure. Our stride is often broken. Our Achilles’ heal is often exposed. Our weak knees are constantly bent. We try not to slip and struggle not to fall. We trust that our legs will support us and our feet will direct us. As we walk through this life, we are unsure of our footing and exactly where we stand.
And yet, there are some of us who are unable to walk. Like –ex-superman Christopher Reid, they cannot testify to having activity in their limbs. Like Curtis Mayfield and Teddy Pendergrass, they cannot boast of having a brand new walk. There are some of us suffering from the condition of paralysis where the limbs are motionless and lifeless. The nerves in their legs and feet are not responding to the commands given by their minds. They want to move but their physical actions will not subject themselves to their mental desires. We called them the lamed, the crippled, the handicapped, invalid, and/or the physically challenged. Everyday they must confront their inability and struggle ten times harder to do what we do effortless.
However, we serve a God who hears their cries and pity their every groan. We serve a God who is a physical therapist for the paralyzed. He is a God who causes the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear.
In fact, many of us who spend three fourths of our day upright and in motion are constantly patients of his. We visit his doctor’s office regularly for a remedy to our soul’s diseases. You see we too suffer from a state of paralysis. Oh we are physically healthy but many of us are spiritually lame. We have activity in our limbs but no activity in our spirits. We can run a 5k but we can not walk in the footsteps of Christ. We can come high stepping in to God’s church but our souls remain on the sick and shut in list.
We are victims of paralysis - going nowhere in our lives. We are social paralytics – confined in a society of glass ceilings and affirmative action, crippled with the stereotypes of sexism and racism, and stricken with urban flight, redlining, gang violence, drug addiction, and teenage pregnancy.
We are mental paraplegics - confined to mats of misery and pallets of pain. We are a people borne lame from our mother’s womb bearing the sins of our fathers. We are living out self-fulfilling prophecies and generational curses. Papa was a rolling stone so we become absentee fathers. Mama was a welfare queen, so we become teenage mothers waiting on Mother’s day to come around the first of every month. Our parents were dope pushers, users, and abusers. So, we become the mistreated, the afflicted, and the addicted. We are psychologically paralyzed – going nowhere due to a lack a vision; can’t see the possibilities due to lack of hope: stuck in dead-end jobs due to a lack of education: trapped in dead-end marriages due to a lack of communication: burdened with dead end ministries due to a lack of motivation. We are a people stricken with paralysis.
Even the church, which is to be constantly on the move, seems to be sick with spiritual palsy. We, who are to be boarding the gospel train to Zion, are either parked in the handicap zone or riding an invalid coach to hell.
We have parts of the church body not willing responding to will of the head. Limbs, that should be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked are crippled and lifeless. Feet that should be prepared with the gospel of peace are immobile and none respondent. We have body parts doing their own thing or not doing anything at all: Joint boards fighting for control over the pulpit. Finance committees struggling for power of the purse. Members too busy trying to be seen rather than trying to serve. The church body is infected with a cancer of pride and selfishness causing paralysis.
The head wants the body to move but the members will not respond. Synapses are sent to the body telling us to praise the lord, but our mouths are sealed and our tongues won’t say amen.
The head tells the body to clap its hands and shout for joy but the body will only sit with its arms folded and legs crossed. We are paralyzed -bound by narrow-mindedness and stubbornness: Transfixed with tradition and old time religion: afraid of criticism and social condemnation - I tell you that the church body sometimes suffer from spiritual paralysis.