May We Never Lose Our Wonder

Posted on 17 Nov 2015 in Breathe, Imagine | 0 comments

Nabeel SyedWorld events in the last few weeks have given me cause to wonder. In both positive and negative ways. I’m naturally a reflective person, so any time events happen, my heart turns to mulling over ideas and trying to understand. It’s been heartbreaking to see the response to attacks of terror, especially from those who label themselves Christ-followers or Christians. The response of fear, hatred, anger and venom have reflected something that is very Anti-Christ. It’s completely against the Good News that we are supposed to carry. So, this morning, I just wanted to take a moment and wonder what would be different if we chose to live in a place of wonder. To wonder and reflect on those things that we need to be challenged by and work on, and to wonder and reflect on those things that are brilliant and stunning and beautiful and filled with love and goodness.

I wonder…

I wonder sometimes what would have happened if Joseph and Mary had not been able to settle in Egypt after Herod ordered a massacre of people. I wonder what would have happened if they had been turned away yet again at the inn, even though they were given so little. I wonder why God chose to come through the refugee, the traveler, the scandalous.
I wonder sometimes why there are so many injunctions in my sacred texts to welcome the stranger, the foreigner, the sojourner. I wonder why it’s so important to our texts, why we’re reminded again and again that we were all once foreigners, strangers, outsiders, who have been grafted in and given a place to love and call home. I wonder why we so easily forget that we have been given much, but we have also taken much when we’ve been welcomed into new places. I wonder why we don’t remember our own history of fleeing persecution in Europe and being welcomed by a people that we then terrorized and slaughtered on a massive scale. I wonder if our cultural memory gives us pause and makes us assume that we will be treated the way that we ourselves treated our hosts.

I wonder…
I wonder why the main character in one of our most famous stories would be considered a terrorist by today’s standards (The Good Samaritan). I wonder why we forget how hated and feared Samaritans were, that they were considered despicable and unworthy. I wonder why we talk about neighbors and being good neighbors, but don’t want to extend that neighborly love to those who represent something we fear and don’t understand. I wonder why we would rather talk about how to avoid having to deal with the reality instead of talking about how to bring reconciliation and healing. I wonder why Jesus turned our tables and didn’t even make the Samaritan the victim – but rather the hero. I wonder why we would rather walk on the other side of the road than even see the everyday heroes when they are part of a community that we’ve made assumptions and judgments about.

I wonder…
I wonder why my sacred texts are emphatic about loving enemies and praying for those who persecute us – even when our first world persecution seems so different from the actual persecution happening in places where people are fleeing for their lives. I wonder what loving enemies looks like, when we are urged that love is patient, kind, doesn’t envy or boast, and it is not proud. It does not demand its own way, it is not irritable, and it keeps no record of wrongs – including terrorist attacks. It doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but rejoices when the Truth wins out. It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures in every circumstance. Perfect love casts out fear. I wonder what our love for our enemies would look like if we actually lived out these texts literally, the way we want to literally live out other texts.

I wonder, particularly, why we take a literal stance on things like sexual immorality, but we refuse to use the same rubric for interpretation when it makes us uncomfortable and stretches our personal bubble and has us put ourselves in risky positions. One of the leaders of my movement, John Wimber, once said “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.” I wonder why we are so determined to live in fear and feed the beast of apathy, hatred, suspicion and fear. I wonder why we fear to love our enemy and show them God’s blessing and favor and kindness. I wonder why we are afraid to risk our reputation and become radically loving and compassionate and to love people fearlessly and ridiculously.

I long…
I long to be known as a woman who does this. Who continues to wonder and reflect and keep thinking deeply about these things. Who loves radically, fearlessly, openly, compassionately, and emphatically. And I want to open the doors of my heart, my life, and even my country to those who are wounded and needing refuge. It could be that the next world-changer is one of those children and needs a safe place to lay his or her head. I want to be a light in the world, I want to chase and scatter darkness and let radiance replace it.

I want to stand before others and my God, knowing that I always erred on the side of goodness, kindness, light, life, and love.

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