Farmville Enterprise May 1, 2019
During Sunday School a few weeks ago a couple who just had returned from a funeral in Zimbabwe described the plight of a woman in the husband’s hometown. She had only one leg and each day needed to walk several kilometers to get clean water, carrying it back home on her head. The couple was thinking of ways they might be able to coordinate help for her from the United States. That evening, my son asked if I wanted to go see “Shazam!” We ended up at AMC Fire Tower 12, which was remodeled with stadium seating a few years ago. Sitting with our feet propped up and heads tilted back on what seemed a bit like lounging on the Pillsbury Doughboy, I wondered how odd this would look to people in Zimbabwe or other developing countries. It struck me as almost absurd that we could be leisurely watching a movie in AMC Signature recliners equipped with cozy seat warmers, while there were people in the world who had to walk miles to get clean drinking water. This certainly is not to say that it is immoral or bad to go to a nice theater to watch a movie, but that we should be aware of the stark differences between what is often available to us versus what would be inconceivable to many.
After participating in a beautiful worship service with special music in view of a lovely flower-laden cross to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, our family was treated to a delicious lunch together. That same day in Sri Lanka over 350 people were killed by bombs set off during Easter Sunday worship at three churches: St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, Zion Church in Batticaloa and St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo. How was it that most of us could worship and spend time with loved ones in safety while others faced such a gruesome tragedy?
How do we live within the tension of the daily reality that individuals are suffering immensely while some are experiencing great joy? Surely it would lead us to despair if we constantly thought of the poverty, violence and general brokenness that pervade our planet. Somehow, we must learn to walk the fine line of remaining aware of the pain in the world while holding to the assurance of a gracious God who loves us unconditionally and gives far better than we could ask or imagine. God has chosen to use us to bring glimpses of hope and light to this world as we seek to help those in need.
The Apostle Paul tells us that we should share in the joy of those who are celebrating special happiness and we should weep alongside those who are weeping. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:9-16a)