In my head I hear Louis Armstrong.
"And I say, to myself...
what a wonderful world!"
I love the yearning, hopeful quality of that song. I wish it was the world we lived in.
But today, 18,000 children starved to death. A child died between when you started reading this, and now.
And there goes another, whose mother is weeping...if she's alive.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone's torqued out over Miley Cyrus' behavior at some awards show.
We don't live in a friendly Purple-Dinosaur-Hug world. We are encamped at the gates of Hell. But don't despair...
...because so was Jesus. He lived at a time when torturing people to death was routine, and 'blood sports' involved being eaten by lions, not a bunch of guys with long beards and funny Southern accents.
Eaten by lions. Think about that for a minute, and think of a few thousand Roman citizens cheering...uh, for the lions.
Jesus met his end in a particularly brutal crucifixion (all of them were bad, but his was a standard deviation or two worse). All of the Apostles save one died violently, too.
Their lives were a lot closer to the flames than most of ours. But they looked into the abyss, and they didn't blink.
I rather suspect that this is what God expects of us today. Not following the prosperity gospel, not working out our own salvation 24/7, not asking Him to make our in-laws bearable.
But charging the very gates of Mordor, for all that is, and could be, good and decent.
Facing down Hell, even though our knees are shaking, for the cause of Heaven.
Where do you start? Sponsor a starving child, or family. Take a few hours a week to read to an eledery blind person.
Buy a bag of groceries for the homeless shelter in your town, or medical supplies for the free clinic.
It gets you in the game.
I won't guarantee the safety of your heart. Might get bruised. See enough, and it might get broken. You may leave a part of yourself behind, cold and lifeless in those dark precincts.
But you have to die to be reborn, anyway. Might as well get it over with.