Monday, August 4, 2008

The Urgency of Need

The past 24 hours Micah has been sick with a stomach virus of some kind creating all kinds of disgusting adventures with details I won't subject you to. At one point Isaiah even joined in on the fun and during the midst of it all I began to think of the importance of meeting immediate needs and how those needs influence the way we spend our time in thought and in deed. When the bodily fluids are flowing, I don't have time to think about the future and plan how I might reach a given goal. I must look after my child and tend to him before I can begin to think about the abstract.

Some of our friends have recently begun having their first children. One friend jokingly told Erin, "They tell you that this new baby is going to eat every 3 hours and that seems alright because 3 hour spurts of sleep are great. What they don't tell you is that the feeding takes 1/2 hour, you then have to wait for the mess and the diaper change, then get the baby back to sleep. It then takes you another 20-30 minutes to get back to sleep yourself leaving just 1 1/2 hours of sleep before starting all over again." (this isn't an exact quote but it gets at the idea) Erin and I laughed together and agreed about his assessment and I said, "Having a baby gives you a severe crash course in learning to live for someone other than yourself." Needs have to be met before you can think about anything else.

These events and conversations made me think about the things we argue and bicker about in the church. We can get so intent about being right about this way of thinking or that way of expressing a doctrine that we loose sight of what we should probably be doing. Don't misunderstand me, I truly value the importance of doctrine and reading the Bible in a way that leads us to truth. But we live in a culture that is not too concerned with meeting the needs of everyday living so we have the time to ponder and debate these types of things.

However, we live in a world of injustice where there are thousands upon thousands of people who are more concerned with where they are going to get their next meal, or how they are going to survive AIDS, or if they are going to have to sleep in the rain and these people don't care about those semantics we are fighting about. They want to know that someone is going to reach out to them and keep their child from starving tomorrow. They want to experience a community of believers who are going to live differently in a system that suppresses the weak and favors the privileged.

God, I thank you tonight for the subtle reminder that if we want the world to see You, we need to help remove as many obstacles and blinders of need that are in their way. We need to seek justice and love mercy as we walk with You in humility. Give us Your eyes and heart for the oppressed around us. Don't let us fool ourselves into thinking that this is a problem that is some distance away. Help us to see You in those marginalized people who cross our paths on a daily basis and lead us to reach out to them with a coat, or a cup of water, or a meal, or a roof. God, forgive our past complacencies and place in our mouths Your song of justice for the world.