Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Containing Sand, Music, and Change

Sometimes it's easier to live with your head under the sand. It's nice and cool down there. You can't see anything that disturbs you. You don't have to think any thoughts except the ones that please and comfort your head. In any situation, however positive, there are bound to be disadvantages. Would you consider the lower concentration of oxygen, or the darkness to which your eyes will finally adjust and loathe the sun (or "Yellow Face", to quote poor Gollum)? Besides, (but this might be peculiar to me) the position is highly un-flattering.

If your head is above the level of the ground, you don't have to look far to see some disturbing stuff. There are well-covered stories like the "conflict", as we so neatly dub it, in Gaza. The pictures we hardly want to look at because they make us sick to our stomachs are not merely pictures for so many people. There are nearly-ignored stories like the LRA's abduction of Uganda's and Sudan's children and the horror and terror of what it means to be a kid soldier and be forced to hack your friends to death and drink their blood. There are stories of neglect, pain, and despair all around you, no matter where on God's earth you live. And still we push our grocery carts past each other without even meeting the eyes of people two feet from us. It doesn't take a thorough analysis to concede that things simply can't go on like this. Humanity is desperate for change.

Someone says "change", and all eyes swivel toward the American Mecca: Capitol Hill. We beg the powerful to wreak more havoc on one group of people to vindicate and emancipate another. After writing our friendly local Congressmen, we wait for salvation to descend. Sometimes we are successful; a new law is passed to remove offenders that mess up our complacent personal landscapes. Then we complain that we pay so many tax dollars to feed and clothe those in jail... and therefore conclude that it would be benefit the general populace if more inmates got death to alleviate the situation. And the choking chaos continues.

Change that lasts... change that breathes welcome, refreshing hope and peace into neighborhoods around the global country without borders, doesn't rely on power and laws. It happens slowly, one person at a time, growing higher and stronger as its green tendrils caress the cracks of one broken home after another. The brokenness may look too devastating, too permanent, for redemption, but here's something I've come to deeply believe: every act counts. Even the big events of life are comprised of small happenings. Brothers and sisters, let's mobilize! Look around you; things need to change. With every friend you make, every smile you give, every mouth you feed, evil is untwisted; love changes lives. We, the Church of Jesus Christ need to become His hands and feet. We've resorted to shoving papers into the faces of the people who need us, rather than knowing them. For this mess to change, we have to change our lethargic indifference.

Tree 63's invigorating "Becoming" from their "Sunday!" album says it well:

Does anybody feel a change coming?
Does anybody feel like up and
Does anybody here want to volunteer
To break through into a new

Here we go, here we go -
We're becoming
the One we know
Here we go, here we go -
Heaven is becoming our

Did anybody see the sun setting?
Does anybody want to spend
time regretting?
Is anybody tired of owing yesterday?
Does anybody know
that someone else paid?


Does anybody know
what's really missing?
Does anybody here feel heaven insisting?
anybody here long to disappear?
Does anybody anybody?
Here we


(WARNING! Commercial ahead!) If you at all appreciate the contemporary genre, you'll love Tree 63. Originally based in South Africa, they are one of the best things that has happened to me, musically and spiritually. Thoughtful, challenging lyrics, diverse song line-ups, excellent sound, and impressive vocals by lead singer/songwriter John Ellis... delectable! :)

Pretending that our world is OK will only put us in the same category as the oppressor. Let's get finished being the priest and Levite already. Don't let your limits keep you from being a Good Samaritan. Dream big; start small. Let's be the change God weeps for as He looks at the mess we've made.

With these thoughts in mind, ponder this quote:

We cannot rebuild the world by ourselves,
but we can have a small part in it
by beginning where we are.
It may only be taking care of a neighbor's child
or inviting someone to dinner,
but it is important.

-Donna L. Glazier

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