Thursday, March 1, 2012

Setting Captives Free

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners."
Isaiah 61:1
I have an occasional ministry of liberating moths.

In general, when insects get into my house, I do my best to escort them outside.  Freeing moths is different, though.  I have set moths free on two occasions (so far).

The first time was a few years ago.  When I lived in Seattle, I worked on the 26th floor of one of the very tall buildings downtown.  Each day, I would take a very fast elevator up to the 26th floor, walk through the lobby, and use my key card to let myself in to where I worked.  We had a lovely view of the Puget Sound from that height but, of course, none of the windows opened.

One day, I walked out of the elevator into the lobby and saw a moth flying around.  Oh, no!  I thought.  There was no way that it would be able to survive in that sterile environment.  So I pushed the elevator button and got back on.  The moth got on with me.  We rode down to the ground floor, where the door opened, and the moth flew out.  I rode the elevator back up alone, feeling like a hero.

The second time was just last fall.  I was taking the train up to Portland to visit some friends and I realized just before I got to the station that I had forgotten my water bottle at home.  It was a warm day and I was thirsty after walking to the train station, so I decided to buy a bottle of water from the vending machine.  

I was kicking myself for forgetting my water bottle―I was annoyed at having to spend money on a bottle of water and I always feel guilty about using plastic bottles―but I bought it anyway.  As my bottle of water thumped to the bottom of the machine, a moth flew flew out.  Who knows how long it had been trapped in there, but my spontaneous purchase set it free.

Sometimes, setting captives free feels like being Moses―leading those who are trapped out of bondage and into freedom.  Other times, it can feel like a mistake, like forgetting to bring a water bottle.

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