As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Elizabeth Keller):
“But they look so happy and healthy,” said the woman sitting in the crowd after seeing our Sudan presentation. I gasped, nearly angry and clearly annoyed with her question. I shouldn’t blame her, for this is why she has come, to learn and to listen.
And sure, these Sudanese people caught on camera look happy and healthy. But wouldn’t you, if you thought Jesus was coming to visit? Many times it felt like the Sudanese people thought God had sent us to save them. Sent us because of the color of our skin, the country of our origin, and the wealth in our wallets. Even now as I write, the burden feels too heavy, and the tears are too many.
The Sudanese people who met us dressed in their finest clothing — clean and pressed and glowing with HOPE. They presented us kawajas (white people) with their Sunday best. The smiles captured on camera aren’t as much about being happy and healthy, as they are about being hopeful. Hopeful in us.
Everywhere we went, children rushed to our bus yelling, “Kawajas!” People shouted from the roadside, “Obama!” Groups we met declared, “God has answered our prayers, for you have come.” As we waved and smiled and engaged the Sudanese people, lasting relationships and responsibility overwhelmed us . . . To whom much is given, of them shall much be required.
Yet there is some truth to their being “happy and healthy,” but it’s more than physical, it’s faith. When our group waited in Amsterdam for our flight to Uganda, we overheard a group of Christians who said, “Okay, let’s go save those heathens!” I was appalled knowing that I witnessed faith that ran far deeper than what mine may ever be.
Roi L’Orange is a Sudanese woman who suffered from typhoid. On her way home from worship one day, at a time when her village was being bombed, she pulled David Radcliffe aside and sang quietly to him a song about the goodness of the Lord. In the midst of such turmoil and tragedy, she sang praises to the Lord! It seems the Sudanese have something to teach us about living more whole and holy lives. To whom much is given, of them shall much be required.
There is a danger in our culture to dream up drama — perhaps because our lives are bored and empty. Sure, they’re filled with things to do and buy, but emptied of greater purpose and meaning, distracted by all the things that can never fill us with the peace, love, hope and JOY of Christ.
Sometimes we think we deserve it all, instead of taking only what we need, and sharing the rest with all God’s children. I know I’ve denied my privileged position in the world, keeping myself busy and indifferent, rather than using my privilege so that all of us can realize our dreams.
What if I took their hope, and made it my dream? What if we dared to live happy and healthy, whole and holy lives?
Thought for the day: What privileges do you hold in this world? With all that I’ve been given, what will be required of me?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.