I admit it: I am a homebody. Unlike my husband who itches to return to the road shortly after suitcases have been unloaded and accumulated mail sorted, I thoroughly enjoy being within the walls of our condo. Oh, I could wish for a roomier space for my desk and a dining area expanded to accommodate more than six people, but generally I’m quite content to live my life at this address with herbs on the patio, fireplace for the winter and pictures on the walls.
However, as a follower of Jesus, I also want to be flexible enough that should he say, “Move,” I would be ready to pick up and follow his call. (Without too much grumbling!) But the other day in our local paper I saw the picture above. Here’s the Associate Press description: An ethnic Rohingya boy carries a plate in his hands as he walks past migrants queuing up for their meals during breakfast time at a temporary shelter in Lapang, Indonesia… More than 1,600 migrants and refugees from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Bangladesh have landed on the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia in the past week and thousands more are believed to have been abandoned at sea, floating on boats with little or no food after traffickers literally jumped ship fearing a crackdown. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
This is a boy with no home. No herbs. No fireplace. No pictures. Quite literally, no one—no country—wants him.
What do I do with pictures like this? Do I quickly turn the page to read new political diatribes? Do I re-settle myself on the couch to check sales at the mall? How about easing any twinges of guilt with NIMBY thinking? In case you don’t recognize those initials, they stand for Not In My Backyard, a negative description used by residents when a proposal for a new development is planned near them, believing that the development may be needed in society but should be farther away. In this case, we look at the picture, acknowledge the need it represents but simply say, “Someone else can take care of it. It’s not my responsibility.”
Or maybe I should gaze at the picture long enough to imagine the feelings of the boy as he carefully balances that red bowl filled with…what? Perhaps rice or ground root similar to cassava or taro? Is this his only meal of the day? Note that no one in the food line is rushing out to grab the child’s food. They know that his belly is as empty as their own.
Or should I cut out the picture and place it on a cupboard door so that when I go into my small but more-than-adequate kitchen tonight to put finishing touches on the meal that’s been simmering in the crockpot, I stop to pray for the child and thousands more like him who have no Home Sweet Home. In my praying so I honestly ask God how he wants me to replicate Jesus’ goal, to …proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed… Am I ready to obediently move out of my comfort zone? Off my couch? Away from my fireplace?
For more pictures to pierce the soul, check http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/boat-people-photos_n_7283178.html