Saturday, February 22, 2020

Giving Up Indifference For Lent

While we enjoy all the comforts of spacious homes, millions
of new refugees are in danger of perishing in the cold.

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?
- I John 3:17 (NLT)

     I've always found it hard to read the above text, and found it equally difficult to read the following excerpt in a recent TIME article about Syria:

     “To avoid getting caught in the crossfire, nearly 900,000 people have left their homes since December, most of them heading north toward the Turkish border through the snow in sub-zero temperatures. The vast majority of the displaced residents are women and children, who, if they’re fortunate, find space in makeshift displacement camps with tents that are stretched beyond capacity without basic services. But Turkey has closed off its 550-mile border, leaving thousands to live in the open among the icy hillsides or unfinished buildings, the UN says. Mothers are burning garbage to keep children warm. Babies and small children are freezing to death.”

     All of us who profess to be pro-life need to demonstrate a willingness to make major lifestyle changes to help our fellow human beings in situations like these. Pretending to be helpless in the face of a crisis this overwhelming cannot serve as an acceptable excuse. 

For example:
1) We can and must give extravagantly and joyfully to relief organizations like Mennonite Central Committee and other groups offering aid to refugees.
2) We can drastically reduce our overconsumption for our own comfort and convenience and reinvest in causes that help alleviate suffering around the world.
3) We can help reduce the demand for fossil fuels that contribute to pollution and climate change that increase the likelihood of record breaking droughts, floods and other unnatural disasters.
4) We can urge our nation to stop adding billions to a "defense budget" capable of killing ever more people while people are dying from lack of food and shelter.

     What better time than Lent to engage in practices that promote life and well being for all.

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