I am writing this article on Ash Wednesday evening. By the time you read this, we will be well into the season of Lent. Lent is the time of preparation for Christians to examine themselves and be better prepared to celebrate the wonder of Easter morning. How are you doing so far in whatever act of self-discipline you have chosen? Have you let it slide a little? Is it time to get it back on track?
At the end of March we begin Holy Week. March 28th will be Palm Sunday. On April 1st we will celebrate Maundy Thursday. Easter will be April 4th. I look forward to seeing you there.
This past week, the world’s attention was brought to a young man from the country of Georgia who lost his life on the day the Winter Olympics opened. We watched as athletes from around the world stood as the Georgian athletes entered the opening ceremonies. We also are kept apprised as to the status of other Olympians who have been injured in competition, such as the women competing in the downhill skiing.
We may not be able to recall the names of which country they represent, but we express caring. We rejoice in the way the athletes set aside their competitiveness to embrace and support one another without any concern of politics. Yes, there are rivalries and harsh words exchanged but there is a greater sense of community than there is of division. It is a terrible shame that this happens only every other year in the winter and summer.
This is an example for all of us to follow. These athletes connect sometimes in spite of the home countries disagreements. They see each other not as foreign competitors but as fellow athletes, members of the same community.
So much needs to be done in the world and we seem to keep waiting for governments to figure it all out. We wait for world leaders to sit down and solve the problems. We expect elected officials to set aside their personal agendas and serve the greatest good. It is not up to them. Just as in the Olympic Village, we in the Global Village must step up and set the tone.
As Christians we are called to live in community and to love and serve that community whether we like each other or not. We are called to care about what happens to our neighbors and how what we do has an impact upon their lives. We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation. We are challenged to love one another and not judge or we will be judged in the same matter.
We do not need the governments of the world to solve the issue of Global Climate Change. You and I as Christians need to be more deliberate in how we use and abuse the bounty of God’s earth. We need to leave less of an imprint on creation and do a better job of using only that which we truly need and to recycle everything that can be recycled.
Why wait for the government to solve the health care crisis? In small ways we can work together to help those who have no insurance. In Warner Robins, the hospital offers a clinic for workers without healthcare. We can support it. We can volunteer to help meet the needs. We can encourage medical people we know to work to improve the system. The best way for the change to occur will be from the inside out.
Homelessness, hunger, abuse, suicide, etc., etc. can be dealt with by people of compassion and dedication striving to make a difference in their own communities. The early church did not overcome the persecution of the Roman Empire by force of arms or resources; they succeeded by acts of love for everyone regardless of their social status. They cared for everyone they could reach and thus set an example for others to follow, and they did. As Christians, our greatest weakness is when we believe ourselves to be in power. God is in charge, not us, not any government. God dares us to follow the example of his son and welcome the outcast and rejected; to heal the sick and give sight to the blind; to release those who are bound and enslaved; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Join the Way!