People all around Fort Collins are living in a kind of altered state. Things change and people’s lives aren’t able to immediately catch up. When some sector doesn’t do as well, when there are layoffs, when building slows down, somebody struggles. In a beautiful city with so much to do and such great lifestyles available, the struggle can almost be invisible. When more people face new difficulties of their own, it brings a higher level of awareness of the hardship of so many. When facing hardship, life seems more of a shared plight. Surrounded by people who are working a job they wouldn’t have chosen can make it seem as if life as it ought to be is lost.
The good news is all is not lost. In such circumstances, everyone is reminded of the value of a life, even if they aren’t looking very successful right now. The extreme example right now is Haiti. Haiti wasn’t in good shape before they were devastated by a level seven earthquake. Now with loss of life and home and infrastructure there are huge obstacles and opportunities ahead of them. No matter how large or overwhelming the task, history tells us that great hardship can also be the time for people to pull together and help each other survive and rebuild. Aid and prayer and empathy flow from around the world. The greater strength is likely to come from the people themselves. Richard Fields with Helping Hands in Motion corresponded from Haiti saying the looting has not been as expected. And instead of voodoo drums, they hear people singing praise to God in the streets, somethings they hadn’t experienced in Haiti before.
For us, this is the opportunity to remember that a life is a valuable thing whether winning and doing well, or down and out and depressed. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” he wasn’t saying “feel really bad about yourself.” He was saying that life is valuable no matter what situation it is in. People matter to God, no matter what is going on. A person can turn to God and find him there: loving, strengthening, making a way where there is no way.
The general category of these articles is “church as life.” Church, in this context, is understood as people helping each other know God, caring about one another, and caring enough to see the value of a life. Church as life is more than something done in a meeting or something programmed or even done in a certain place. It is a person who listens to another and cares. It is a person who recognizes the amazing feat of living in the midst of obstacles to overcome and choices to endure. It is a person with eyes open to the experience, the knowledge, and the skill in others and valuing them for it. These are the practices of the church of Jesus everywhere