the Jesus in Atlanta.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This is what I don’t understand.  Rachel spends an entire chapter talking about how she felt the closest to Jesus in years working with orphans and widows in India.

I get that. I get what it’s like to rock Tanzanian orphans to sleep that rarely feel physical touch. I get what it’s like to take food and medicine to widows in mud huts.  I even get what it’s like to walk with a 17 year old HIV+ girl through the decision to place her son in a Haitian orphanage so that he would receive the treatment he needed.  I get how it feels to hold her while she weeps and watch a white lady take him away.

I can’t really say that Jesus was always on the forefront of my mind as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and my desire to help people eat and fight off disease and live another day was more often my focus.  But I get that part. The part about how Jesus is often seen among the least of these.

What I don’t get is why Rachel makes it sound like I have to be in one of those places to feel close to Jesus.  To feel like I can make a difference. To have a spiritual awakening. 
I think that’s crap.  I hope it is.

I know that the reformed theology which I’ve heard since the age of five, and finally began to grasp around seventeen plays a role.  I know that everything in life is spiritual.  That it’s all sacred.  That I can equally honor God working a 9 to 5 selling popsicles or serving in a developing country.  I’ve never struggled with those questions… probably because I was always the girl that wanted to live in the mud hut…but regardless…I get that part.

What I don’t understand is this feeling.  Why is it that I (or Rachel too in this case) must travel to Haiti or Tanzania or Honduras or India and work with the orphans or the widows or the dying to feel Jesus?

I don’t buy that.  I don’t believe it. But I do feel like it's true. 

In India I was introduced to the kingdom of heaven- not as is exists in some future state but as it exists in the here and now, where the hungry are fed with both physical and spiritual bread, where the sick are saved from both their diseases and their sins, where an illiterate widow taught me more about faith than any theologian ever could, and where children from the slums sing with God. In India, I learned that the gospel is still special.  Jesus still matters and can make a difference in people’s lives.

I don’t want to have to go to India to be reintroduced.  
I want the Jesus in Atlanta to still matter