I live in the Midwest. I live in a small town in the Midwest.
I live in a town where the sky is big, the hills are small, and the problems of the world are just not that concerning to us.
I sit this morning and read Galatians again, seeking again for the Spirit to shape in me the heart of Christ. The Spirit strikes quickly:
"Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age."
Jesus was a rescuer. He rescued from the evilness of the world in which he lived (and in which we still live.
But I live in a town where the sky is big, the hills are small, and the problems of the world are just not that concerning to us.
I think often of my friends and brothers around the world. For those fighting to bring hope to those lost in the hopelessness of homelessness. I think of those sharing good news to those bogged down by the legalism of Islam. I think of the wonderful young man Abhijeet, sharing faith in his homeland India; sharing even though his best friend's wife was killed, his friend brutally beaten. I think of those freeing slaves, ending sex trafficking, and bringing clean water...
...and I feel disconnected.
I can send money (and do). I can help out with a note of encouragement or prayer (and I do). I can cheer them on and encourage involvement and raise funds...
...but ultimately I live in a town where the sky is big, the hills are small, and the problems of the world are just not that concerning to us.
The big lights of the conventions were burnt out of her eyes. The excitement gone. The only reality left was that she knew she was changed, but was already ready to go back. It was easier in the present evil age, even if more damaging. It was easier to live without hope than to taste hope and fight for it.
And the text says she is ready to give up.
And I pray with her.
He is strong, strong like abused dog that lashes out because it is better to bite than to get beaten. The walls around his heart seemed like steel. He didn't need anyone, he doesn't need anybody. He doesn't always start the fights, but he sure finishes them.
He comes to church, but refuses to share his life with ours.
Until he comes from school broken. Hot tears breaking down his face like acid eroding the steel around his heart. He yells and cusses because he wants to be loved. He wants to be accepted.
No, I cannot be actively involved in beating the slavery in Africa, or the oppression of Islam in the Middle East.
But here in the Midwest the sky isn't so big and the hills are not so small that they are insignificant. The problems are real. The evil is real. The pain and hurt and hopelessness all lead us to one major need:
And this I can do. This I will do.