Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Breath of Life

“…the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7

“But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.  From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.  All these evils come from within and they defile.”  Mark 7:20-23

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance."
Robert F. Kennedy, South Africa, 1966

More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

God did all the work of creation and we got all the freedom.  Maybe things would not have been so interesting throughout human history if God had gone one step further and removed from us the propensity to sin.  We would have no murder of the Archduke Ferdinand kicking off World War I.  No adultery would rob our literature of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.  Without greed, there would be no Great Train Robbery, no Bonnie and Clyde, no Jesse James Gang. 

Life would have been more refined without the freedom to act in these sinful ways.  However, then we would not have the freedom to choose God who breathes life into us all.   

"Some men see things as they are and ask 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'"  (Robert F. Kennedy, 1968)

With the death of Kayla Mueller during her extended imprisonment in captivity, we hear the story of an activist who was not content to see things as they are and leave them alone.  We hear how she dedicated her short but inspiring life to asking “Why not?” 

She walked right into some of the harshest places to try to sow love.  We may not have definitive evidence of how she died, but we do know how she lived.  She used her freedom to choose God and to choose life.  “Kayla has touched the heart of the world,” said her aunt Lori Lyon, speaking on behalf of the family.

We may never understand why she went into Syria when it was a “no-go” zone for humanitarian workers during the height of the crisis.  We may never understand what is in the hearts of those who have captured and killed many innocent aid workers and others.  However, we do know that Kayla Mueller not only worked for justice but encouraged others to get involved as well.  Let her example inspire our action.

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