I watched a baby Koala embrace a stuffed animal, and it made me fall into a deep, spirit-filled prayer.
The video was a short clip of a little Koala that had lost its mother shortly before, and someone had brought a fake stuffed Koala to it. It seemed to be weeping, as it had its paw over its eyes, appearing to be grieving from its loss. Someone handed the Koala the stuffed animal, and it embraced–even gently biting at–the plush replica. It was heartbreaking, yet, I was overjoyed for the little fella. Compassion filled my core, and I went into a deep, spirit-filled prayer for the hurting. Yes, even for the little animals of the world.
I see a lot of the broken between the city where I work and the town that I live in. Many people stand on corners and hold signs as they send the usual message: Hungry, anything helps, and usually the bigger than the rest of the message, God Bless. Some are genuine. Some are addicts. Some are making a living through handouts. But, I do believe all of them are broken. One of them stands on the corner of a highway every single day and holds his sign. I have spoken to him and offered things that he has rejected. I stopped and asked him one day why he cannot work, and he told me that he refuses to wait for a paycheck. He then refused my clothing item.
I didn’t know what to make of that?
It was hard to hear the words and see the disgust in his eyes as he told me that he refuses to work. I already had the article of clothing in my hand, so, I offered it, and he refused it. He said that he didn’t need it. I’ll be honest, that was tough for me. Years back, I would have told him where to stick it.
I didn’t get very upset for very long. In fact, I sometimes wonder–seeing him stand out there, day in and day out–how he arrived at his current position. I sometimes see him talking to no one with a look of disgust on his face. I sometimes wonder if he is mentally ill. I wonder what his story is.
The homeless, the neighbor of ours who needs the huge house and big, expensive toys, the little Koala, the mean as can be lady at the corner store, the clerk working more hours than she spends at home at the grocery, you and me: we all, feel. The thing I find frustrating with many of the Christians I encounter these days is the exclusiveness that seems to be weaved within by, most likely, toxic church practices. Yes, there are the ways of God we should follow, but being exposed to the world as I go (opposed to staying in a toxic establishment) is showing me just how every single creature of God has feelings. Of course, I understand the feelings of the animals vary depending on the complexities of their brains. Truth is, the complexities of our brains vary as well.
Religious pride is something that I will never stop speaking against, because I want people to know just how destructive it is to people. I was caught up within it at one time, and it led me to believe that I was above others. That I was, “set apart”, as this was used out of context in order for me to be misguided into believing that Christians are only supposed to be part of a group (cult) in a little building. That I was supposed to stay and not go.
I go into all of the world (Mark 16:15) and be the church. I feel. I see that all creatures, big and small, also feel. Its not a limited thing we should practice in the confines of a building, but a thing we should become in the life we journey through. People (and animals) need the love that we are all longing to find and share. After all, God IS love, and he wants us to be kind to each other–sharing His love with one another. He longs for us to show grace to all, and to realize that we all feel.
The deep prayer–with the familiar warmth of His presence while doing so–was a reminder of the grace and mercy I should always have for the broken. People just like you and I. Just like the little Koala bear.