Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent 2011: Day 4_Japan: fear, overwhelmed, prayer, or action?

My Lent Reflections Day 4: Japan. Next Tuesday, I will spend some time leading the Mission through awareness and prayer of world issues. I made my preparations earlier this week for leading this. I was going to focus much of my time on Libya and other Mideast/North African revolutions. Everything was printed up and ready to go for Tuesday's meeting.....then disaster hit Japan. Over 1,000 are dead and that number climbs hourly. And damages are enormous. Just like that I have another topic.

I am convinced that when I was in high school in the mid-90's, events like this happened just as frequently as they do now. I am sure I vaguely heard of earthquakes, wars, tsunamis, and other world changing events. However, because I lacked access to in-depth knowledge of events they merely became headlines that came and went without much impact on my life. Surely my young, naive, immature, self-centered life and faith played a part in my apathy, but the other reality was that I didn't have and YouTube clips at my disposal. In today's world, you can do a simple Google search or go to a news website like CNN and within 30 seconds you have up to the minute information about any newsworthy event going on in the world with video along with it. Yesterday, I was able to view the chaos and devastation that happened in Japan with my own eyes....from Philadelphia....thousands of miles away. 15 years ago this wasn't possible unless you lived there, or you saw it on the evening news or read it in the newspaper the next day. Because of this, our world has shrunk and we are now more informed than ever....Since I can see and hear from Japan, and Libya, and Egypt, and Haiti, my heart (filled with faith and God's love as a Follower of Jesus) is moved towards prayer, petition, compassion, and action.

I was all prepared to speak on Libya on I am carving out time for Japan. That is our world today. Since our world is also fallen and depraved, we are hit with a never ending onslaught of issues we can be a part of as ambassadors of Christ. I often see 4 different responses from Christians in these times of crisis and hurt. The 4 typical responses I observe are either a: spirit of FEAR, a sense of being OVERWHELMED, a movement to PRAYER, or a drive to ACTION. To be honest, I tend to fall more in the "overwhelmed" camp. Its usually a mix of spirit and flesh battling in me. In the holy part, I want the world to be rid of violence, strife, hurt, and suffering (i.e. injustice). In my flesh, I long to be God and tackle issues apart from God's power. Its a tension I often live with and one God is actively addressing in my life. What He is constantly teaching me and bringing back to mind are the simple words of Mother Teresa, "We cannot do GREAT things, only SMALL things with great love."

Which of the 4 responses do you tend to have? Fear leading to isolation and self-centeredness/interest? Being overwhelmed leading to apathy or paralysis? Prayer resting in God's sovereignty and actively petitioning the Creator of the world for intervention? Or action to live for something beyond yourself? Maybe its a mixture of a few...or all four?

I personally long to be a man of God participating actively in the Kingdom of God, but only through the divine power of the Holy Spirit...


DrsMyhre said...

thanks for your continuing Lenten reflections, I try to tune in daily. Thanks for leading us. Interesting on the four responses. The first two are self focused (could this happen to me, do I have the energy to engage) but the second two are other/God focused. We all have some mix of the four, but let us pray that it becomes something like 1 part fear, 1 part apathy, 5 parts prayer and 3 parts action as we mature. Jennifer

Ordinary Radical said...

thank you so much Jennifer. It means a lot to me that you are following! I definitely have a mix of all four!! I like that you (likely purposefully) put 5 parts on prayer and 5 in all other places...half is prayer! Indeed! Since we cannot tackle every world, justice issue we have nothing more than the power of prayer with God for others suffering. And even when we can move to action the power is through the Spirit covered in prayer anyway!