Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Grace and peace to you, Friends.
I don’t know how it happened exactly, but I have become a devotee of the first twenty minutes of the Today Show every morning. I used to listen to MPR when I got up and get the morning paper to read with my coffee. We got a new newspaper person awhile back and it doesn’t usually get here til 8:00 which is too late for morning perusal. I turned the TV on one morning and got interested in the overnight developments of news, as well as the ongoing stories that the Today team covers. I got hooked.
It was the Today Show that got me to follow the Amanda Knox story. I hadn’t been paying much attention to it, but they covered it pretty heavily and showed a number of court room scenes in Italy which I found interesting. During the filming of one of those sessions, I noticed a small detail in the courtroom. It was on the wall, behind the judge. It wasn’t the 10 Commandments, one of the first codes of law. It wasn’t a picture of Moses, “the Lawgiver”. It was a crucifix! An 18″ or so statue of Jesus on the cross, the one who defeated the “law of sin and death” by the power of love and grace (and death and resurrection!)
It was so surprising because we would never see that in our country or even think that a government courtroom (or any other room) would be a place where the crucifix would “fit”. And yet there it was in that Italian courtroom, probably seldom noticed by the participants and onlookers. Decor has a way of blending in to the point where we don’t notice it. And yet, for me, it jumped out in such a way that I thought about it for a number of minutes and days afterwards.
It got me to thinking. How often do I miss the little things, the small ways in which Jesus is present in the world? Not just a crucifix on the wall but in the faithful actions of those who are making their part of the world a better place, a place where Jesus might become known.
For example, Jesus said, “I was thirsty and you gave me a drink…”. My niece just participated in a fundraising triathalon to raise money for a well in southern Ethiopia where she and her teammates raised about $50,000 of the $150,000 needed so that 10,000 people can have clean accessible water. http://www.mudulawater.org/
For example, Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me…” I will be joining a team of 25 faithful people to spend a weekend behind the razor wire at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault October 14-16, helping with a retreat where 50 felons will be learning what it means to follow Jesus. http://www.charismn.com/
For example, Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” Each day a child in the world dies of hunger related issues every 20 seconds. There is an organization in Minnesota that packs nutritious food bags for about 50 cents that will feed a family of four a healthy meal. People all over the state participate in Feed My Starving Children food packing events every day. And those food packs get sent all over the world. http://www.fmsc.org/
For example, Jesus said, “I was sick and you looked after me…” The United Methodist Church in the US is launching an “Imagine No Malaria” campaign where we hope to marshal the resources of 8 million people to eradicate malaria from the continent of Africa in the next three years through the use of mosquito nets, medicine and education….thus saving the life of a child every 45 seconds. http://www.imaginenomalaria.org
When I stop to think about it, all around me are signs of Jesus…in the good that is done in the world…in the people seeking to live a faithful life of serving others…in the love and grace and freedom that is shown to people by the people that are seeking to follow Jesus. I am grateful for all those signs.
I want to encourage you today to be looking for some of those signs yourself. They are not always obvious and they often don’t “jump off the wall” at us. But they are there. AND, be a sign yourself to someone else! Make our world a better place. God is at work!
God bless you richly today!