on prayers for Willow Creek, The Catholic Church and every one of our hearts

A few weeks ago, just after more allegations towards Willow Creek’s former pastor broke news, I was in the Chicago area on spiritual retreat.

Being physically close to Willow, I caught headlines reporting the news.

With a myriad of emotions, our group paused to pray for the church, the family, the leadership team within an unfolding scandal….and for the women who came forward.

We prayed too for the multitude of Christ-followers impacted.

For the questions. Doubts.

Fears. Anger.

I heard of experiences the women speaking up faced.  To say pain touched them on multiple levels seems an understatement.

What a difficult mess for so many people.

Shortly after returning home, news broke surrounding 1000 victims of abuse by Catholic priests in the state where I live.

I felt completely heartsick reading of intentional coverups by bishops; for a lack of transparency serving to further victimize children and families.

I prayed and cried for justice.

For healing.

For Christ’s mercy upon this shaking within Protestant/Evangelical and Catholic worlds.

For what seems to me an upside-down theological interpretation of GRACE, keeping spiritual leaders from acting upon legal and moral duties.

And I prayed over my own heart.

For the hearts of everyone claiming their identity in Christ.

I believe it easy to shake our heads, feel fleeting emotions and then move on. Personally, parts of the above stories hit much too close to home. I’ve struggled with wanting to hold these situations in prayer…

…and a desire to forget I ever heard.

But in reality, I cannot fully separate from the hurt of my brothers and sisters. And in reality, I cannot allow the failure of man to drive me away from closeness with Christ.

It’s time for spiritual battle.

Satan’s goal lies in sowing destruction within every rank of God’s church. From the seasoned leader to the new believer. No one is exempt.

Our battle focuses not on a person or institution, but on this present darkness.

I believe spiritual warfare demands of us prayer and action, carried out by abundant humility. We must stand for righteousness and justice, with view of our own brokenness.

TODAY friends, I ask you pray and take action.

Pray protection for your pastors, priests, congregations and parishes. Not with fear, but with hope.

Contribute towards a home and church culture who deeply loves by practicing accountability — an opportunity to safely share yes, this is good and no, this is not.

Pray for the many victims of abuse, both known and unknown.

Ask God how you might respond to their needs.

Pray for Christ to guard your own heart, for we can be deceived by it.

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.  

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May our hearts be moved by what breaks our heavenly Father’s heart.

 

 

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