Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Red Letters - Part 2

FINALLY! I have a few moments of peace and quiet to finish writing about this wonderful book! Here is the link to my post about the first half of the book.

Chapter 6 is entitled "The Sanctity of Life". Tom spends time on two passages of Scripture - Matthew 25:41-45 and Jeremiah 29:11-14. In the Matthew passage God tells us that He IS that hungry, thristy, homeless, sick and imprisoned person. He doesn't just care for them He IS them. This is something I am still amazed by and again am realizing that it will be hard to "See God" as I so often ask and live my life "not seeing" the people He indwells!
The Jeremiah passage is special to me because it is the verse we claimed over Rebecca at her dedication before our church family. Verse 11 says the Lord has "plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for". These words from Tom really pierced my heart when I read them.
"Does the Jeremiah passage apply to everyone or just to those of us who live in weathly countries? Does it pack the same kind of meaning to people in developing countries; do they get to look forward to a hope and a future? Does it apply to the infant who was just infected with HIV through her mother's breast milk?"
I agree with Tom's conclusion that God makes that promise to every person and He desires to use US to embody that promise to a person in need. When we adopted Rebecca I felt like I had done my part in helping God in fulfulling this promise for her. Now I am realizing that it is MUCH more than that - there are many more that I need to help.

Chapter 7 is "Justice". God is obviously trying to open my eyes to the idea of JUSTICE. I can't wait to write about Gary Haugen's book about the International Justice Mission. Tom mentioned how his 7 year old has a strong sense of justice. I also have a 7 year old and this is very true. The phrase I am hearing a lot lately is "that's not fair". When did I grow out of it? When did I decide that I am entitled to a secure, comfortable life, but too bad for the rest of them? Although I would never say that out loud - I sense that God is shining a spotlight into my soul and helping me see that I don't see all His people as equals as having the same hopes and dreams. As Tom says
"Jesus believed that each person living on the planet has the right to be free, to live with dignity, to be safe, to receive care for their sickness or disease, and to be loved by the community".
Do I really live like I believe that statement? OUCH! It hurts to even write it out - although I may not be doing anything to actively oppress someone, by doing nothing I am an accomplice! Tom again quotes Mother Teresa,
"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you or I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. We have refused to be instruments of love in the hands of God to give the poor a piece of bread, to offer them a dress with which to ward off the cold. It has happened because we did not recognize Christ when, once more, he appeared under the guise of pain, identified with a man numb from the cold, dying of hunger, when he came in a lonely human being, a lost child in search of a home."
That quote is just ringing through my head and heart!
I thought I would blog the whole second half today, but I am just deciding to stop here for today. I sense I need to pause here awhile for myself and let this sink in to an even deeper level!

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