Recently, I was standing in front of Costco waiting for the store to open. The man behind me was wearing a mask. I asked him if masks were required. “Big mistake.” He immediately started shouting theories as to why he would never take a vaccine and that progressed to a long litany of complaints about the election and current politicians and then he talked about an airliner that crashed near New York but was really shot down by a Chinese missile.
Every time you pray. Every time you do something or say something in the name of Christ for someone else. Every time you choose to show love in the face of evil and despair, you strengthen the forces of good against the forces of evil.
Obviously, something happened to change my life significantly but for a while, I was among the many raised in church, exposed to the teachings of Jesus but chose to stay away. “I believed in God but didn’t feel any need to be in church.”
These past fifteen or sixteen months have been full of stumbles. When you consider how the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and impacted the health of millions more. COVID-19 devastated our economy, closed businesses, eliminated thousands of jobs, made it dangerous to simply be out in public, temporarily closed churches, schools, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events and the list goes on and on…
I don’t know the story behind each person waiting at our border hoping to have a better, safer, happier life or to provide a better life for their children here in the United States. But I do know it was a dangerous journey to get there and they need help while they wait for their turn to enter and be reunited with family members and/or sponsors who are in the United States. Most of the men have had their shoelaces and belts taken away from them. The women often arrive with no panties. Many have survived assaults and had their possessions stolen on the way.
In case you haven’t noticed, this column is about risk. I can’t imagine anyone has ever escaped life without taking at least a few risks. Some of them work out, while others don’t but one thing I’ve learned over the years. The answer is never to stop taking risks. The answer is how to make better decisions whether you take a risk and how to manage that risk once taken.
So, the main characters are an old man with visions of impossible dreams pledging his undying love to a woman who once had big dreams but settled for much less. Two depressing answers to the question: “What happens to our big dreams?” For some the answer is “mission accomplished” and they are living the dream now. For others, big dreams were compromised by the oftentimes harsh reality of daily living.
So, how should we respond to those in need? One reaction would be to ignore them. After all, you didn’t cause their problems. A better response would be to pray and hope their situation will improve. You could send a check or volunteer with a group involved in helping others. All appropriate but as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are challenged to “do more” through the love and grace of almighty God.
Yes, Jesus was really nice but why would religious leaders of that day be so mad at such a nice man. So mad, they wanted to kill him in the most gruesome way possible. Movies about Jesus don’t help because they often portray him as short and thin with long hair, almost like a flower child from the hippie era. Why would anyone get so mad at someone who is so nice?