Tuesday, November 27, 2007

World AIDS Day

I can't believe that I've been blogging for almost a year now. This is one of the first issues that I blogged on nearly one year ago. It is an apropriate topic to remember today.

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to AIDS. We all experience the chaos of such suffering, even if it is experienced from a distance.

Compassion, as Henri Nouwen has helped us all understand, is a word that simply means to "suffer with." God has compassion on us and has engaged in our suffering. Through the revelation of the incarnation we witness a God who is intimately connected to the suffering of His creation. The One who experiences the telos of our brokenness on His paradoxical throne. That symbol of suffering, death, defeat, and God-forsakenness has become a symbol of grace, forgiveness, victory, and reconciliation for those "in Christ."

We can no longer hypothesize the concept of a distant, removed god, for then we only speak of the "no-god." They shall call Him Immanuel, which means "God-with-us." The image of the invisible God bears witness that God is compassion - that compassion comes from God.

Those of us, then, who carry the banner of this God, who are called to become authentic expressions of the Kingdom, should be shaped into the life of compassion - the parabolic sacrifice that engages in the life of the "other." We can no longer safely distance ourselves from the brokenness of our world, but must engage in lives of compassion.

Okay, I know that I'm using a lot of technical jargon, forgive me, what I mean is this: God is compassion, therefore, we should live lives of compassion. Someone who claims to be a Christ-follower but is not shaped by compassion is simply lying to himself (John makes a similar point).

We should be leading the way. But, I must confess that I'm often overwhelmed by the need and end up doing nothing. I'm often tempted to lie to myself, following the natural "fallen" way of self-protection, ease, and comfort. My heart continues to harden as I witness the immensity of the problem and experience a small taste of the worlds suffering. There may be others out there that have gone through the same struggle. Where do we begin? Prayer.

As the World Vision suggests: "Pray! It all starts here, because the One to whom we pray is truly the only One who has the power, ultimately, to bring this crisis to an end. Pray for the tens of millions of children whose lives have been affected by AIDS. Ask God to show you what you can do. Pray that our leaders will make decisions that put children first." Join with others in praying for this immense world need.

Allow such prayers to shape your being and move you to action. World Vision offers opportunities for each of us to respond in meaningful ways on their World AIDS Day page.

On the Emergent Nazarene blog we've been discussing the power of faith stories...sometimes known as personal testimonies. I came across this powerful testimony today by Kay Warren. Kay and Rick have been consistently leading the way in the Evangelical sphere to address the AIDS pandemic. I would encourage you to check out her faith story. If you have any thoughts, feedback, or other ways that we Christ-followers might respond...I would love to hear it. Until Next Time - Blessings in Christ ~ RLS

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