What did I take away?
"I can't stand your religious meetings. I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want."
Amos 5:21-24 The MessageAs I watched this film I noticed how "grossed out" and disgusted I was at certain images. As one point I thought to myself, "his teeth look like kernels of corn." That is just me, being honest. Am I proud of those thoughts and feelings? No, but they were automatic. Is that not a testament of the self-righteous world in which I live? I have an inability to see people. I see problems, imperfections, sin, and pain. But not people. My hope lies in the belief that I can unlearn that seemingly natural sense of existence. That's the entire message. That we are one. That we are all people. That we all need to love and be loved. Charity to me naturally, is bending down to lift someone up- not sitting beside them or walking with them. Where did I get this sense of entitlement? This posture of "better than?"
The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.
Isn't it hard to imagine that the money that man with his "Vet - Homeless - Hungry" sign will raise today is enough to sustain a Ugandan family for a week? We run from discomfort while families in another part of this world run from rebels who seek to kill, rape, and destroy them. Yet- it is the same world. The same moment. Their now, is my now, your now. The roots of this injustice, I believe, are centered in a self centered focus. From the iPod, to the iTouch, iPhone... I'm not picking on Apple, because believe me- I believe God uses a Mac, but they are marketing geniuses that have targeted the center of our souls; ourselves. The Church, us, are too caught up in this sense of who we think we should be that we miss who we are called to be. We are called to be all things to all people (1 Cor 9). Not is some sort of "super hero" essence, but simply in the reality of responding the the seen and felt needs around us.
Something Joel Houston said is really resonating in me. He said, "We are called the human race and I think that is fitting." We live our lives as though it is a competition. We are in such a hurry, willing to push others out of our way as we run toward... what? I want to take the race out and just be human beings- living each moment, together.
"If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight."Isaiah 58:10 Message
People are not problems to be fixed. They are people. People to love and be loved. God forgive me for trying to fix people, even myself. Show me how to love you and to love others with your love.
Here's the thing. I don't know how to fix poverty or human trafficking or slavery or hunger. All I know is one thing, I know that God is Love. Love is universal. Injustice and unfairness will expose themselves until the end of time in this world, for it is the nature of our depraved existence. However, I can tell other people the one thing. But more than telling, let me show it. They will know we are Christians by our love.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."
1 John 3:16
I keep reflecting on 1 Corinthians 13.What I am thinking the most about that is how much emphasis, learning, and reflection I have done on what love isn't. But what about the first to statements and the last part? What about what love is?
Love is patient.
kind.Love never fails.
rejoices with the truth.
rejoices with the truth.
"Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
Ephesians 5:1-2 Message