They say that the world has shrunk because of the internet. We can contact someone across the globe instantly now. People can. Businesses can. Governments can.
News travels fast, too. When something happens on the opposite side of the planet, we know about it immediately. We know about it right away, but there is still a significant difference in how MUCH we know, how quickly we forget, and how measured is our interest and compassion.
In some significant ways, the world is still enormous.
For example, a cyclone struck Mozambique last weekend. It killed hundreds, displaced hundreds of thousands and completely destroyed the city of Beira (population 1.5 million).
This is a story that hit the headlines for maybe a day and then fell by the wayside. The world is small in the sense that we found out about this instantly, but it is still very large in terms of the gulf in our interest. Of those who took an interest in this story, I’m betting a good many were wondering where Mozambique is (it’s in Africa, by the way). Can you imagine the focus on this story if this devastation had happened in our country?
No matter the size of the world, our hearts are still pretty local.
Or take the mass killing in Christchurch, New Zealand. Worshipers of all ages at a Mosque gunned down because of religious hatred. Days after, we have already moved on. Maybe it makes sense in some ways. Maybe it is too painful to remain focused on tragedy. To avoid “compassion fatigue,” we switch things off. I get that.
This Lent, however, I would encourage us to think of every nation in the world as a different state in our country. Maybe that would really help to shrink our world and extend our hearts. Think of the people of Africa and Asia, for example, are citizens with us in one country in the same way as people living in New Hampshire. I’m betting we would see the world quite differently.
Using nationalistic math, the farther away a tragedy occurs the less concerned we need to be. That is not the math of Jesus Christ or the Kingdom of God.
Divisions fall away for Christ and for the Christian faith. In Christ there are no Jews or gentiles, no slaves or free, no women or men, no Africans or Americans, no Muslims or Christians, no black people or white people, no old or young. There are only children of God who are trying to make their way in this world the best way they know how.
And we are eternally linked to one another; no matter the geographical distance between us.
See you in church,