Today, like every day that has ever gone before, countless heroic stories are being played out around the world. And perhaps humans are slightly more aware of it now because of the impact of Coronavirus. There are, at this very moment, doctors and nurses and carers battling against the odds (and their own personal fatigue) to look after millions of very sick patients.
Elsewhere, somewhere in the world, there are heroic rescues taking place, lives being saved, acts of survival against all odds, as well as self-sacrifice for the benefit of others…..
And then there are the heroes that somehow eek out a daily existence when everything seems to conspire against them. The poor in the shanty towns and refugee camps; the down-and-outs on the streets; the victims of man-made war and conflict.
And it’s not just humans that are the heroes in our world. Far from it. Virtually every living thing on our planet seeks out an existence against all odds. The birds in your back garden. The creatures in our polluted seas. The animals in the rapidly disappearing rainforests. And it’s such a tragedy that humans (whom I like very much) make the situation a thousand times worse, not only for creation, but also for themselves.
And there’s also the problem of mindless killing. For even when creatures do defy the odds and survive, some humans then go out to shoot or hunt these heroes of God’s creation. Supposedly in the name of “sport” or “tradition”. But why? Why do they do it? The guns have been firing off around here since Boxing Day, shattering the peace and stillness 0f the countryside. Is it out of mindless ignorance? A lack of understanding? Do some humans have a kind of inner blood lust? Do they simply have to assert an “alpha male / female” predator instinct? Do they secretly yearn to be at the top of the food chain even if it results in the termination of heroic life?
Guns and blood sports are symbols of everything that is wrong in the human world today. But, quite wonderfully, the self-sacrifice of doctors, nurses, rescuers along with every kind of humanitarian gesture, -they all serve as symbols of everything that is right with humanity.
Jesus experienced first-hand the contradiction of human beings. And clearly, Jesus was the most extraordinary of all heroic figures. He survived without a job or a permanent roof over His head. He had no regular food supply. He had no spare wardrobe or assets in the bank. Throughout His life, He was threatened by the same humanity that He came to save. Even as a young baby, He was forced to flee with His parents into Egypt because of the threat posed by King Herod. And throughout His life, He had to justify His acts of love and kindness to others who thought they knew better. And ultimately, He had to die on the cross to save the very humans that cried out for His crucifixion.
Humanity is a strange mixture of hope and despair. Some humans, -the heroic ones, -are like walking saints, dedicating their lives to making this world a better place. Others, for whatever reason, prefer to shoot, hunt, destroy and trash the heroic life around them.
I know I’m one small parrot in a huge, vast world. But it’s my heartfelt wish at the start of this New Year, that Covid will bring all humans to their senses. So that they will learn to value life in all its’ forms, to cherish the world in which they live, and to radiate the love and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sake of all creation….
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
“Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark: 3:4)
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’.” (Luke 23:34)