Nov 5 0 Comments

Give me your tired, your poor

Two refugee girls our family met in Eh Htu Hta refugee camp

A lot of people have commented on my latest blog post about spraying water on Jesus. Many have responded with anger, disbelief and disgust. Also, many have responded by saying that it has made them think about how they themselves treat the poor. Who knows, perhaps one of the members of the church I wrote about will also read the blog one day and decide to demand change.

So I wanted to continue by quoting the poem that is inscribed in the Statue of Liberty. I had never known there was a poem before, and when I heard it, I was moved:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

It reminds me of Jesus and his offer to receive the ones who are weary and heavy burdened. 

So my first impulse is to talk about why is it that we don’t do a better job as Christians. Why are we not better examples of Jesus and of the Statue of Liberty? 

Last night, Elise, who is 16, was writing an essay called: Where are all the heroes. I helped her with the content. Her first draft was good, but I told her: You seem to focus mostly on the lack of heroes in the world today. I think can write about that, but how about changing the focus some, and write about all the people that actually are true heroes. Because there are many.

So she spent the rest of the night thinking about people she consider heroes. In the end I was not allowed to read it. Perhaps she knew I would make her rewrite some of it, and she would miss out on valuable time chatting to her friends on Facebook.

But here is my point: There are so many people in the world who are true heroes, all the way from the unknown heroes who do things to help others, and who never get one ounce of recognition for it, to the ones whose bravery, sacrifice and commitment result in international recognition and admiration, such as Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Teresa. 

I tend to favor the heroes who are working tirelessly for justice and righteousness, with no concerns with how much they will get back in return for it. I know many such people. In them I see Jesus every day. In them I see a love and a commitment that I would like to reproduce myself. So many of them are my biggest heroes. They have said, like the Statue of Liberty seems to say: Give me your tired, your poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refuse, the homeless and the tempest-tossed. 

Three such people are my friends, Shaune, Frank and Carolyn. They live in Colorado and are working with the refugees that have moved from war and conflict in Burma and other places, to Denver Colorado. Their ministry is called Project Worthmore, and you can read about it here. The work they do for some of these refugees is some of the most Christ-like work I have ever seen done. Read Shaune’s reflections here. Read it for yourself, and when you have read, give! 

Let’s all strive to become more like Jesus today, like Shaune, Frank, Carolyn and so many others have done. I don’t want to be spraying water on Jesus. I want to become Jesus to the world around me.

On one of Project Worthmore’s blogs, I found this quote by Emily Dickinson: 

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.