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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Compassion and Community

These two words have been on our minds and our hearts a lot lately. Jon will quickly tell you that I'm the blog-reader in our marriage. And being the relational person I am, I find myself relating to these people, some of which I've never met, as if they are close friends. Often times, I find myself saying to Jon, "You know that blog I read...." Well, this past week I've been so blessed by the blogs I've been reading and the people who have given me a small glimpse into what God is doing in their lives. Many of you have heard of Compassion International, but you may or may not have heard of their Blogger Trips. To give you the short version, Compassion takes bloggers to the countries they are active in and allow them to see firsthand what Compassion is doing there and how their support really is making a difference. These bloggers write about their trip throughout the duration of their trip. Well, two of the bloggers I read travelled to Calcutta, India this past week and the things they saw and experienced have changed my and Jon's perspectives. I encourage you to read about them for yourself here. It is definitely hard to read about their time in India and NOT be challenged, if not changed. They tell stories about families of five living in a room the size of a bathroom. They tell stories about men who work hard to support their families, bringing in only $17 a month. They tell stories of five and six year old kids already planning their futures, so they can alleviate the pressure they know their parents are feeling. It's just heart-breaking.

Jon and I found ourselves talking about the extreme poverty that is found in so much of the world. It's quite humbling, actually. And, because it's not sitting right outside our door, it's easy to push it out of our minds and forget that poverty that affects people EVERY day of their lives. To see an organization actively and intimately involve themselves in this poverty is amazing. But bring in the love, truth, grace, and truth of Jesus into this poverty and it's astounding. Compassion provides opportunities for hope to be seen in the midst of their situations while meeting their very physical needs AND their very spiritual needs.

Our worship leader, Ross King, wrote a song about community and the body of Christ. In it, he asks God to teach us to be community and to unify our hearts as one. There's a line in it that says, "One part suffers, all parts suffer together. One part honored, all parts rejoice." I definitely find myself rejoicing when part of the body is honored. But until recently, the suffering part was not only something I did not involve myself in, but something I was afraid to involve myself in. That requires true compassion. Here's how compassion is defined:
"A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

The second part is what strikes me, "a strong desire to alleviate the suffering." I have that desire, but what to do with it? Well, Jon and I are praying about supporting a child in one of the countries that Compassion sponsors. While conditions like these seem far away, we can't turn a blind eye towards it. See, I think that compassion and community go hand-in-hand. We have compassion for those we are in community with. And community challenges us to put action to that compassion. We are realizing more and more that community can definitely be comprised of much more than those within our "borders."

I'll leave you with this short audio clip of children singing one of our favorite worship songs. It brought me to tears and forever changed the way I will think of and sing this song.

What the Lord Has Done for Us


Marty and Andrea said...

Did you read Angela Smith's blog? I found her blog a few weeks ago and have really enjoyed reading it. When I read your blog about people going to India, her blog popped into my mind. Sure enough, she's one of the one's on the Compassion blog site. I hope you are doing well, friend! It was good seeing you for breakfast this morning. Love you!

Stephanie said...

I loved that audio clip. Love you!