It seems to me that every generation has one…. a ridiculous way to placate the masses that they’re all going to be ok when it seems that everything’s absolutely falling to pieces.
When I was in University, I took a course toward my degree called History of the Cold War. If memory serves correctly, it covered the years 1940-1970. The range sounds right… anyway, that’s not the point. I found the course interesting, despite a professor who lacked the ability to hold the attention of a room full of young History majors.
I don’t remember a lot from the course anymore — it’s been a shockingly long time since I sat in a History lecture. I do remember one afternoon though, when we walked into class and there was a video on the screen, paused and ready to start once lecture started. Trust me, you think little kids get excited when they find out they’re watching a movie in class? So do University students.
Especially movies that are going to have them laughing uncontrollably for 9ish minutes.
We’d been talking about the fear that was pervasive about being bombed. Air raids were a very real threat, and since the world had fairly recently discovered how to go nuclear, it was even more of a fear-inducing possibility. People built bomb shelters in their yards and basements, ready to run and lock themselves in lead-lined concrete to hide out nuclear winter at a moment’s notice.
Do you remember doing tornado, lock down, and fire drills when you were a kid in elementary school, so that you knew what to do in case of those emergencies? I know I did, but if you were a kid in 1950s America, you might also remember Duck and Cover drills.
I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Maybe this wasn’t a real thing. But that day that we got so excited about a movie in a 3rd year university lecture, we were given the impression that kids in 1950s America did Duck and Cover drills.
If you have 9 spare minutes, prepare to chuckle at the absurdity of the idea that ducking under your desk and covering your head would save you from a nuclear warhead dropping on your school.
But what we talked about in that lecture that day was the false sense of security that this PSA (Public Service Announcement) could offer to those who were panic-stricken. What if?!?!?!?!?!!?
I went out for dinner with my Grandparents this evening, and they said they remember being concerned about being bombed, and Grandma said she doesn’t feel like it’s much different from the fear of refugees not being safe to let into our countries.
But what my Grandma and I talked about next is what drove me to write this post. Governments and politicians are always looking for ways to convince people that they’re going to be ok in the face of conflict. Without that skill, there would likely be chaos. What gets said to try to instill that confidence depends on the politician. Justin Trudeau (my Prime Minister) is saying he wants to bring in 10,000 properly vetted and secured refugees by the end of 2015 and another 15,000 throughout 2016. Donald Trump (hopefully not the President of the US) is saying we shouldn’t take refugees at all, though he’d consider it if they were Christians………. This from the man who thinks Starbucks should be boycotted because their holiday cups are red this year, and not Christmasy enough. For the love. Really? That’s another post entirely.
In the face of this, my grandmother has gone to Chapters and bought an Arabic-English visual dictionary, so that when her church is able to interact with the refugee family they’re sponsoring, she can try to communicate with them. Even in the face of uncertainty, because what if? Instead of ducking and covering, she’s stretching out her hands.
I want to be my Grandma when I grow up. For real. Through the whole conversation, I was so encouraged that there are still people in this world who want to be the hands, feet, and face of Jesus. People who don’t want to slam the doors of the safety of this country closed because some extremists did some terrible, horrible things.
I’m reminded many times daily lately of the passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about feeding the hungry and caring for strangers, those who are sick, and those who are in prison.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Now, hear me. I’m not saying fling the doors wide open, don’t do background checks, and leave the due diligence behind. I’m not saying that. I don’t believe that would be wise.
But what I am saying — loudly, and as clearly as I can — is that I refuse to let fear tell me to ignore the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the one needing clothes, the sick, or the imprisoned. I refuse to let fear tell me that because there are risks, I shouldn’t welcome the chance to help a family of refugees start over. Would I want the same treatment if I were in their position? Yes. Do I believe it’s what I’m called to? Yes.
Is there reason to be fearful? Probably. But because I know I’m a child of the King, and because I know fear is not from God, I can safely acknowledge that God isn’t calling me to fear helping those in need.
Am I going to let fear dictate my actions?
No. The cost of doing so is far too great this time.
Fear can not win.