Horses Walking In A Sea Of People

By: Deb Kitchenmaster

I accepted an invitation to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans with a group of people from Minnesota. I walked down several of the twelve blocks that Bourbon Street covers, which extends from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, ministering to people and spreading God’s love. It was in a section of the French Quarter that a young man came up to me and told me to get the “F” off his streets. He told me there was no way he would EVER enter a door leading into an “F”ing church, and I needed to get off HIS streets. I thought he had a good point. You see, religion gets offended, love doesn’t. I told him it was my first time here on his streets and that I did not come to offend him. My response set him back somewhat and he said, “You’re different.” Yep. I’ve been told that before. However, it was the next three words that came out of my mouth that touched his heart. “I see you.” What? “What did you say?” I repeated, “I see you.” Under all the tats and piercings and anger was a desperate soul crying out to be seen. He chose to just be around for an extended time, listening, and observing my interactions with people. That was a treasured moment we shared together. Remember people, God is LOVE. He is not angry with us. Love says “COME.” Anger says “fear, runaway, hide, cover-up, pretend, SHUT-UP.” Simply, turn your face toward Him and come close. You’re safe with PERFECT, unfailing LOVE. I promise.

It’s the horses in the sea of people that got my attention. When someone needed to be removed from the street, an officer on horseback would make their way through the crowd and take hold of that person, dragging them to a side street where a paddy wagon was parked, and releasing that person to be contained. Horse and rider worked together as one in the midst of noises, sounds, “suddenlies,” and distractions to protect individuals from themselves and each other.

Late one night, on a damp and chilly long day, the officers decided to meet for a cup of hot brew at a particular spot on Bourbon Street. The officers used the lampposts to rope off an area where they dismounted and secured their horses from the sea of people, which enabled them to go inside to enjoy warmer temperatures and to add some warm food and drink to their bodies. I observed these horses. They were totally AWARE of their surroundings. Without fear, their ears were moving constantly back and forth. Their training had prepared each and every horse to RESPOND to their surroundings, not REACT. What were their training methods?

In February of this year Mobile, Alabama, held the 32nd Annual Mardi Gras Mounted School and Civilian Into Clinic training. The Mobile Mardi Gras Mounted School is held in conjunction with Mobile’s two-week Mardi Gras celebration. This is a complete school that includes basic equitation techniques, sensory training, obstacle courses, defensive tactics, arrest procedures, vehicle extractions, formation riding, crowd control tactics and strategies, and other advanced law enforcement maneuvers. The goal is to produce a mount that will be calm and obedient under the most stressful conditions by building up a horse’s tolerance to unusual sights and sounds. These horses were conditioned by the training they had gone through.

What about YOU? What about “YOUR” training? In the Bible’s 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it says: All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, FOR TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS; so that the human of God may be adequate, equipped for every GOOD work.

The only way to be righteous and acceptable before God is by grace. GRACE is a FREE gift to be received by you personally. Gifts are to be received, wages are earned. Simply BELIEVE and RECEIVE your GIFT by faith. YOU are exercising various spiritual disciplines in daily life. You read your Bible and obey it. You walk with integrity. Pursuing righteousness leads to a lifestyle that exhibits integrity. Pray to God and submit to His guidance. ENJOY.