Monday, January 6, 2014

All About People

A couple of days ago I got to sit at the top of a hill all by myself and just stared.  I sat for an hour or more and let my mind wander.  I thought about this and that.  I stared until my thoughts untangled, my shoulders relaxed, and I breathed more deeply than I had for a while.  Something that I should do far more often!  Take the time to think through things, talk to God, process; just dial down, find perspective, and not leave until I do. While nothing in my life had changed, I walked down the hill with a clearer head and a more peaceful heart.

I often wish that I could just stay in that 'top of the hill' place.  The things I could do in the challenges of life down below with the peace and perspective of 'above!'

The problem is that the top of the hill is a place that is hard to get to and impractical to live.  Most of all, however, no one else is there.  While that might be nice for a while, life would get pretty dull, pretty fast without others.  And what's the point of the top of the hill when there's nothing to gain perspective FROM?

Jesus is all about people.  He spent massive amounts of time with them while here on Earth.  People are the center of His heart, the passion of who He is, and considered in all that He does.  He modeled how to live for us while He was here on Earth and was about people, not power nor position.  He led from the bottom up and served others.

I've read a number of things recently that ripped Christians to shreds.  Called us 'sanctimonious, bigoted, judgmental, superficial, holier-than-thou' to name a few.  Ouch.  I'm seeing this more and more and if that is the impression that people have, then what kind of legacy are we as 'The Church' leaving behind?  Because Jesus is all about people.  Every person that ever was or ever will be.

Couldn't resist this with some Christmas money that I received.  It's called a Circle of Friends but it just reminds me of the value of people!

Jesus didn't criticize the government of His day, although He easily could have (Mark 12:17).  It was oppressive and godless. Although the Old Testament shows that God is a just God and that we need a Savior, Jesus didn't condemn sinners (John 8:1-11), but gave His own life instead.  In fact, the only time that I can think of that He was openly critical was about the religious leaders of the day (Matt. 23, Matt. 21:12-13).

While other parts of India* can be militant against Christians, Kolkata* is unique in that people of different religions for the most part get along.  I think this has a lot to do with Mother Teresa.  All she did was love in Jesus' name for years and now around the city Christians are thought of as generally good and loving.  What an amazing legacy that is.

I spent another happy hour yesterday looking at the 'Humans of New York' page on Facebook by the author/photographer of the bestselling book by the same name.  Amazing photos and interesting bits from interviews of random people from all walks of life on the streets of New York City.  Man, people are interesting!  Valuable, vulnerable, intriguingly unique.

I wonder what would happen if we just loved them?  All of them.  Embraced them regardless of their differences from us.  Whether they made us uncomfortable or not.  Whether it was convenient or if we even liked them. What if we set aside the bickering, finger-pointing, and holier-than-thou attitudes that have made us notorious?

What if we just loved from the bottom up?  Like Jesus.

That's the kind of legacy I'd like to leave behind.

* Since I'm now writing from NZ I've decided that it's OK to name locations of our other recent home.  I won't name the business that we've worked at by full name, however.