Every now and then I get a chuckle from a memory about the early 1990’s variety show, “In Living Color.” The show had a four year run, but still spawns punchline phrases in my everyday conversations. Phrases such as “Homey don’t play that,” and “Mo better butter,” make their way into the conversation when something comes up that I won’t engage in, or when I have the opportunity to choose a butter spread instead of margarine. The show and its reach was wide and long lasting.
When I go to sleep, or when I pray, there are times when I’ll get an image that is, or will be important. I have seen a backward Z several times now. It took me the longest time what the importance and message was behind this. I was driving to work one morning and saw a gate in a fence. Behind the fence were cattle and horses, but what caught my attention was the fence. There was a special construction next to the gate, in order to keep the fence tight and the gate upright. It was two posts with a backward Z between them. Two crossbars and a diagonal that was several lengths of wire twisted tight to keep it square.
Back when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the weakest part of the wall is the gate, because it has to move. So the wall (or fence) needs to be strongest next to the gate in order to handle the weight of the wall and the forces put on it due to the moving of the gate. This was the point of the Z formation.
God is calling to us to stand strong. There are great things moving in the world such as the miraculous dreams bringing people to Christ in the Middle East. At the same time evil and wickedness are also growing, evidenced by the growth and staying power of ISIS. There is good and evil in our own back yards, we need to stand and address it. We need to be strong at the gates, and not let evil into our own households, communities, or churches. We need to stand firm in our faith, proclaim the Good News, and withstand the attacks that are coming.
Lord, strengthen us. Help us be not only the watchmen on the walls, but the gatekeepers as well. Especially the men in the world. It is our job to protect the family economically, physically, and spiritually. It is our job to keep the darkness at bay. Help us turn up the light, and protect what has been entrusted to us. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.