I was at an event recently. It was a very Christian event, with hand-raising, and resounding Amens. People knew the words of the songs and the praying was suitably line-toeing.
I found out later that some of the most fervent hand-raisers were shunning a family member who, in their eyes, had sinned. I am still trying to find the bit in the Bible where Christ says, 'Judge others and have nothing to do with those you find wanting.'
* * * * * * * * * *
Ros and Glenn have been part of Zac's for a couple of years now. they came over from Australia and have played an important part in the development of all that Zac's is. Sadly, they've now decided that the time is right to go back to Australia. Glenn leaves next week; Ros and the children fly out later. Last night was Glenn's final Bible study evening in Zac's.
Gerry, the in-house drunk, was there as usual. At least he was partly there, in both mind and body. He wandered in every so often, abused someone or another and wandered out again. (He did that walk. You know the one. Standing legs akimbo, his body slightly tilted forward, arms at the side like a gun-slinger ready to draw. He focused on the door and slowly took one step, then another. Then a few hurried steps before the door got away from him.)
At the end of the study, Sean prayed as usual and then Gerry asked if he could pray. Everyone looked at him, and then at Sean, waiting for his response. 'Yes, of course you can, Gerry.'
I can't tell you exactly what Gerry prayed; the words blurred with emotion. I only know it was an incredible tribute to Glenn and a fantastically moving recognition of the work done by Glenn and Sean and the others in reaching out and loving the unlovely. Ros, who was sitting next to me, was in floods; Glenn was struggling to control his bottom lip. I - the renowned hard-hearted non-crier - had tears trickling down my cheeks.
It was just one of those precious Zac's moments.