Friday, June 03, 2005

Something Bigger Than Ourselves

I don't know what got me thinking about this. It could have been this interview with Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics. In it, Wallis talked about some of the work he did in the 1970's during the Civil Rights movement. I started thinking about why white people joined the struggle at that time (and, btw, race is an issue I want to get into at some point). Was it to fight an injustice? Was it to help a friend? Something else? And obviously, this isn't an either/or question. There could have been many reasons.

However, one reason that hit me was the idea of being a part of something bigger than themselves. They didn't see themselves as one person or one small group fighting. They saw themselves as a part of a whole, a whole that they knew had the same goals they did. A whole they knew would support them in their defeats and would celebrate the victories. It was a sense of a larger community.

This is one of the big reasons that the Kingdom of God/Heaven concept has really started to appeal to me in ways that it never has before in my life. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom, he's not talking in a limited sense. He's talking big picture; he's talking about God's plan for this world. And as a follower of his, Jesus is saying, "Come on. There's something bigger going on here; there's more to what you're saying than what you think. You can be a part of that. You can help bring God's justice and mercy and grace and love into this world. You can be a part of a group of millions that are trying to do this." Or as a buddy of mine put it, we're trying to turn the world right side up.

It's one of those things of wonder I talked about last week. That as his follower, I'm partnering with Jesus and millions of others, past, present, and future, in bringing about the Kingdom. I'm a part of that.

Today, I'm participating in Impact Day with my employer. I'm working with an AIDS victim support services group called Nashville CARES. I did something similar last year with this same group and was exposed to people I wouldn't normally be around or associate with. Last year, I packed food. This year, I think we're going to AIDS victims' houses to do work around them.

I don't say this to say, "Hey look how spiritual and loving I am." I say it to ask for prayers. I firmly believe that God loves people with AIDS, no matter how they got it. I firmly believe that helping these people is a means of increasing the Kingdom and of exposing them to the love of God.

Pray for my attitude. Pray for my heart to not prejudge people. God is there among them. Pray for them.

One final thing: Check out Preston's Blog, also linked on the right. He's been a good friend over the last few years and has been a companion on this spiritual journey. He has some good things to say.


Preston said...

Thanks for the free advertising, pal. I hope the folks who frequent your blog don't judge you too harshly for endorsing my ramblings.
It's good to have friends on the journey, ain't it?

Tony Arnold said...

Phil, I like the idea of being part of something bigger than ourselves, I think that is very true of the motivation for getting involved in a wide variety of activities--good, bad, or neutral.

I also wonder if we are not responding to that part of us that is not fallen, the image of God part us. It hears the Spirits call to fight injustice, or to alleviate suffering.

Just wondering, because in the context you describe, we are drawn to uncomfortable or unsafe involvement; where instinct would say flee, but we don't. Lewis used this as an example of the innate goodness created within us, the beginnings of his discussion of good and evil in Mere Christianity.


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