It was an unfortunate case of reading too quickly. I read what I thought the sermon title was instead of what was actually printed. I quickly realized my error though when the message began and the sermon was about the importance of taking God’s Word like it was the Word of God. Oops – “Welcome to the Word” is was my mind should have registered. Chalk it up to a hasty assumption – I thought the sermon was going to be about our place in the world. It’s only one letter different but it definitely changed the tenor of things.
“Coincidently” I had already been thinking a lot about our place in the world – perhaps the reason for my accidental misinterpretation. Reading a book called “Not On Our Watch” I learned about the mass atrocities that are being perpetrated in Darfur. I had heard a lot about the situation in Sudan but had mistakenly believed that the peace treaty signed in 2006 had brought to bear the weight of the international community and that remedies were being put into place. What I hadn’t realized was that Darfur was specifically left out of the treaties. Suspicious of any cause that garners the attention of celebrities, I hadn’t paid much attention to the details of the arrangement which is perhaps why I had neglected to pay attention to the continue cycle of violence, sexual assault, and mass atrocities that are being suffered by the people of Darfur. Fueled by ethnic tensions and backed by government support, thousands of been subject to unspeakable crimes and even more have been displaced as a result of the ongoing violence. Ignorance is bliss, and my previous ignorance was definitely more peaceable than the compelling knowledge that I now must contend with. Its probably why I don’t like to watch the news – too much responsibility comes with knowledge.
However no longer protected by the thin veil of ignorance I’m left to struggle with what I can do in situations that far outweigh my abilities. The truth is I haven’t quite figured out the best way to participate in a solution. What I do know, however, is that as a Christian, my concern has to be for the people who are suffering. Jesus never commanded to love only if the result of that love would solve problems. We are instructed to think of others ahead of ourselves and when His children suffer, regardless of where they are in the world, our heart should break right alongside His. Our place in the world is to be the extension of His compassion. It may not solve international crises but its impact on singular lives can not be underestimated. Its easier to stay in our bubble, but being a Christian isn’t supposed to be easy, and the value of a human life is far outweighs the cost of our comfort. It’s our job to join in; to do our part to show others Jesus’ love. Without us, His truth remains a mystery. Without it, evil wins.
Welcome to the world. It needs you.