I really don’t dream much. Or if I do, I rarely wake up from them and I rarely remember them. Last night I had possibly the worst dream I’ve ever had in my life. It wasn’t like any other dream I can remember…it was vivid. It felt completely real. And it was really long. So there was never a point in it that I remember thinking, “This is a dream”. It was one of those dreams where when I woke up, I literally rejoiced in my bed upon the realization that it wasn’t real.
To get to my point, I have to share a little about the dream itself. Warning: this may be a tad graphic…sorry. I’ll spare you all the details, but basically I was in a big city and was taken by a gang (after watching them kill my dad) and most of the dream consisted of them taking me to different places and doing awful things to me...awful things…I won’t go into the specifics, but let’s just say that there were multiple times when I was begging them to just kill me.
Anyway, the POINT of me sharing this is that there was one part of the dream where they took me to a church and had me tied up. I can’t remember what they were actually doing to me, but I remember very clearly that there was a church service happening and they had me right in the middle of the sanctuary where everyone was meeting but nobody was paying an ounce of attention to me. I’m tied up and bleeding and crying out to everyone for help, but it was as if I was completely invisible. No one was even looking at me, much less attempting to rescue me.
And it wasn’t until I was describing the dream to some of my friends this morning that it all hit me.
I once heard Christine Caine (of the A21 Campaign) speak about the horrific things that are happening in the world around us today, but we just keep “playing church”. There are horrible things happening to innocent people today on our watch as the Body of Christ. And I would think that if these things were happening right in the middle of our church building, we would do something about them. But since it’s happening outside of our walls and in places where we can’t see them, it is easy for us to turn a blind eye.
I was reminded of our visit to the castle at Elmina in Ghana, West Africa, a few weeks ago. This castle is the biggest and oldest standing slave castle remaining in Africa. After touring the castle and hearing about the horrific acts of injustice that took place within those walls, we were taken to the top of the castle where there was a church. We were told that the church would actually meet there every week while right below them, people were getting raped, beaten, starving to death or dying from sickness because they were laying in their own waste. And the church would be only feet away from these people…just “playing church”.
It’s easy for us to look back on them and think, “How could the church know that this was happening right below them and not do something about it?! How could they just stand there knowing what was happening right under their noses???” But I wonder…what will future generations say about us?
"How could the church just stand by when they knew there were 925 million hungry people in the world? How could the church just stand by when they knew 27 million people in the world were held in slavery? How could the church just stand by with 143 million children living as orphans? How could the church just stand by while 1 million people were trafficked across international borders every year? How could they just keep playing church while they knew those things were happening?"
I am again brought back to what I said in my last post: it is the CHURCH that was not only called, but empowered, to set the captives free, heal the hurting, feed the hungry, BE THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS in this hurting and broken world. And it is only the church that has been given the authority to attack the gates of hell. Heaven help us if we choose to simply “play church” and forget the reason we’re on the planet!
So as horrific as that dream was last night, it was like God giving me this tiny little glimpse into what it must be like to be suffering and dying at the hands of another person, while the “hands and feet of Christ” turn a blind eye and just keep playing church. God, give us Your eyes so we can see!