When some people think of England their thoughts immediately create visions filled with rain, wind, and cold. Even when their imaginations add people to the scene the themes do not change terribly much. Rain coats, umbrellas, and rubbers add a bit of texture but the cold, isolation, and overall lack of warmth remain constant. It’s hard to find fault with the stereotyped dream. Our driveway in Walton on Thames always had moss growing between the bricks, even during summer’s heat.
The England I know is full of people who care, deeply and intensely. They are passionate about their football, politics, and the people in their lives. Compassion isn’t something which they used to an ends, it is a part of the fiber of their being. Sure, they are as confused as anyone anywhere about what Divinity really is. Granted they carry with them a memory of wars and the angst of past failures. Yet there is a sense of pride and action with shows itself in resiliency, determination, and tenacity.
A prophet saw in one group what I find true of England. “You'll have to camp out in the desert badlands, you caravans of Dedanites. Haul water to the thirsty, greet fugitives with bread. show your desert hospitality, you who live in Tema. The desert's swarming with refugees escaping the horrors of war.” (Isaiah 21.13-15)
I wonder if every God follower understands the challenge. People don’t know or expect God’s followers to be engaged in life (don’t they tend to exclude?). People, remembering the atrocities of days gone by, have no idea what a God follower might due positively (aren’t religious zealots of any age demanding, forcing, and motivating by fear?).
People wonder, yet I find I don’t. I know God followers who mirror the God I seek – full of compassion, guards of non-violence, and people of mercy. It is often hard to know the difference – imposter versus follower – yet experience tells the tale. We are people in a community. Our lives tell the story of our God. In this statement of fact lie our assignments.
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