Our duty of being in Life
We were born to differences. Differences in good; differences in bad. One truth to being born in this world is that we’ve had to just “be” for our duration in this world. A notion of such calls for a deeper understanding. Therefore, it begs the following questions: What is life? What does it mean to live? What does it mean to be alive? The answers to the previously asked questions follow a response based on the subject and the situation in question. The idea of existing and surviving as one, as opposed to living, is a very thin one really and one has to realize that through it all, the concept of both does fall in the longest journey we embark on; life itself.
The four chapters of the book of Jonah provide insight to not just Jonah’s actions of running away from, running towards, running with, and running ahead of God (respectively), but it also deals with the above-mentioned concepts of life that Jonah failed to understand.
Jonah was chosen as a prophet; therefore, his life and actions would take on a particular manner of living, as well as prophecies and visions that he would have to deliver in God’s name. In his days, the people of Nineveh had done wrong in the sight of God and therefore God gave Jonah a message for the Ninevites. “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2 (NIV)). This wickedness came from the desires and choices of the Ninevites to live and to do so in a particular manner to exact their world view of life. It so happened that in doing such they are sinning against God and are not following in the footstep of what was mandated for human beings since the beginning of time. A mandated way to live.
According to the Bible, knowing God is the meaning of life (John 17:3). This shows a break in God’s grandeur and of God’s desire to restore it. Jonah ran away from this task at first. Why? In chapter 4 he said, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God.” He was so angry he asked that God take his life. But is it our role to say who dies and who lives in our world? Shouldn’t there be fulness of life for all creation? There should be as God has love for all creation.
“The cry of the suffering people and the wounds of creation itself are questioning us” (Accra Confession). Are we doing enough to meet the needs of the world? What life is being lived in the world? Is the world living? Is the world surviving? Is the world existing? The church is charged with aiding in the suffering of our brothers and sisters far and near. It should be considered by all as a part of our mission to help to restore the grandeur of God’s creation. Should we ever run away from showing compassion one to another? No, we shouldn’t. Compassion has no bounds, as it is an act of love. It is of God to restoring the grandeur of creation. Compassion for mankind. The world has seen and experienced quite a lot of sufferings.
The first reaction of the church should always be to aid in the sufferings. Being vocal in the suffering; being firm in justice to expel injustice of others far and near; lending a helping hand to strengthen the weak. We are charged in Matthew 19:28 with the great commission. The lot doesn’t stop at sharing from a pulpit, but it continues with taking the church into the communities through actions done. Being with those who are struggling removes existing, it washes survival, ringing in the hope of living, being restored as part of God’s grandeur.
Whitefield United Church in Jamaica
Shamir Bulgin, a recent graduate from the Northern Caribbean University with a B.A. in Spanish Studies, is currently an assistant language teacher. He is a communicant member at the Whitefield United Church in Jamaica, where he plays the keyboard and has responsibility for the youths