I became very frustrated today, and it has been growing on me over the last couple of days but this morning in Sunday School I realized why I was becoming frustrated. We were reading a section out of the Book of Order (W-3.5400) and a phrase within this section struck me, "..pat of the ministry of Jesus which the church has been called to continue as one dimension of its concern for the wholeness of people." The "concern for the wholeness of people" is what really struck me. And I attribute this to the work I have been able to do in Appalachia, getting to know an area and serving them because I love them instead of seeing them as someone who needs my service I see them as people who I love and wish to walk alongside in making the world a better place.
I feel like I have grown over the last five months or so, my theology has taken shape and I continue to strive towards a life of wholeness in Christ. This wholeness comes with brokenness as I have tried to put the pieces of my life in perspective and figure out how in the heck I've made it to where I am today. But none the less I know that the only wholeness I can find is in Christ and that is where I seek to find it. I would say that my "concern for the wholeness of people" has also grown in the last five months. As I have studied about oppression, seen oppression, felt the hurt of a community wrecked by oppression, I have grown and I worry about humanity.
The reason these words struck me so hard this morning is because I have been trying to pull together a trip to Nashville to go down and serve alongside others in cleaning up after a flood that has caused many people hurt, pain, loss, and even fear. As I have been planning I've heard many of times "what are we doing down there? What specific jobs will we have?" And as I explain that we are still awaiting word on where we are needed to help I can't help but think why does it matter? The point is, people are suffering, people have nothing, people have to start new, people need our help and that is why we are going. Even if things went totally out of wack and the only thing I got to do down there was sit and listen to someone talk about their fears, struggles, hopes, and dreams, it would be worth every ounce of effort put into the planning. Why? Because I am called to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ in whatever capacity I can in the circumstance I am given.
It does not matter if I build a house or hold a small child, if I sort through donations, or hand a bottle of water to someone who is thirsty, if I listen to the story of how someone came to help or provide a shoulder for someone to cry on. It doesn't matter what capacity I serve in, so long as I am serving in the mind of Christ.
Matthew 25:34-36 says:
"Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
I hope and pray that one day we will stop asking how, why, what, and instead we will just go and do without questioning. When we become selfless in our service, then I think we will be imitating Christ. Until then I hate to say it but I feel like we are going through the motions, and that upsets me. I care about people, I love people, and I hate seeing people suffer. That is why I would gladly drop everything to go and help someone. I see God in everyone around me, the good the bad and the ugly we all are made in the image of God and have characteristics to prove it. I just pray that we start showing them sooner rather than later, so that we can truly be there to serve others when the time comes. After all Christ didn't throw a fit when he had to get a little dirty in helping others, Christ did what He was called to do, selflessly, for the glory of God, for the benefit of others. I can only hope and pray that I come close to imitating the service of Christ.
One of these days, we will all be willing to drop our selfish ways, to go out of our way, to step out of our comfort zones in order to serve a brother or sister...one of these days...I long for the day when we all become concerned for the wholeness of our neighbors, when we look out for one another and love one another as Christ loves us. I hope others will hold me accountable in this journey toward wholeness in Christ and being concerned for the wholeness of others.
Thanks be to God that even though we fail, we are still loved, we are still forgiven, and we get another opportunity to wake up and try again tomorrow.