Damn Our Complacency!

There is an echo that keeps reverberating in my head and I just can’t get rid of it. Tragedies of gigantic proportion have occurred in the last couple of weeks in places like Myanmar and China. These events surfaced on the daily news without regard for and in addition to injustices that rage daily all over this planet in other places like Ethiopia and Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of people, living in circumstances unthinkable to those of us who walk through our daily lives cushioned by the golden calves of American culture, suffering and dying in the wake of oppression, starvation, disease, human greed, and natural disaster.

Yet, here I sit. Typing on my laptop in a comfortable living room, nursing a bowl of ice cream as I type about the deficit that exists between the death and hopelessness that so many experience in the world and the multitudes of hypocritical, complacent Christians who just ignore it all so that they can plug in their ipods, attend praise and worship concerts for $25 a pop and listen to the latest Tobymac album while sipping grande Starbucks Frappuccinos.

I’m a walking black hole who executes a quick online payment to some relief organization just to take the edge off of the guilt that amazingly surfaces through my thick shell in response to the news that the cyclone in Myanmar ripped a child right out of the hands of her father, never to be seen again.

There are certainly times, when despite my faith, I have no answer to give. Perhaps sometimes the questions are larger and come faster than my prayers can leave my lips. Then there are times when questions and answers are pointless and we should, instead, be focusing our attention on what we can do to help those in need. That time is now. Yet, here I sit asking questions.

“Oh My God”

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, “Oh my God”

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don’t bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

If you should feel so inclined to contribute to those in need in places like Myanmar and China, please consider World Vision. Because of their pre-established child/community sponsorship programs, have been able to distribute resources directly to victims in Myanmar and China.

Rich Young Ruler

All the wisdom necessary to unlock my soul,
But, my feet are fixed in cement
The young, rich ruler has taken residence in this fragile jar
It was once filled with prodigal clay
Too proud to yield the the truth that permeates their guilt-inducing pleas
My comfort has not left me blind,
But, instead inclined me to ignore the least of these
In doing so,
I ignore Him
And become poor

Luke 18:18-29

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

 19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[b]

 21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

 27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

 28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

 29“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

 Matthew 25:31-46

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”