Meditation written and read by Cathy Tamsberg.
The mouse in the waiting room was a brave little character. As we sat in a London train station awaiting the departure of our train to Coventry, we looked up from our books to see this tiny little creature run out into the middle of floor. Even in the presence of half a dozen humans hundreds of times its size, the mouse ventured out from behind the drink machine to get crumbs of food in the middle of the room. It reminded me how much one will risk when one is starving—for bread or for justice.
It strikes me that this is part of our problem as middle class people in the “First World.” We may not have everything we want, but we have what we need to survive pretty comfortably…food, housing, financial resources, independence, legal rights, at least the opportunity to vote even if we sometimes feel that our votes don’t matter much. We’re not “hungry” enough to take risks because we don’t need to, not like the people of Syria or Palestine or dozens of other places around the world. And since we’ve acquired what we have with things the way they are, we are disinclined to want to change the system that benefitted us.
I think what got Jesus into trouble and led him to the cross was his call for God-followers to take risks—not because we need to do so for our own survival, but because we need to stick our necks out on behalf of others. He said it in many ways: the last shall be first; the greatest shall be servant of all; one must lose her/his life to save it. The safety of our lives can make us complacent, yet complacency is not our calling. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who risked it all and lost his life opposing Hitler, said famously, “When God calls a man (person), he bids him come and die.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others took the same risk and paid with their lives.
Our calling may not be to a literal death, but it is to take more risks than most of us do. As you go about your daily activities, consider how hunger for bread or justice empowers everyday human beings—and mice—to take courageous stands. And consider, too, how we can foster that kind of hunger in ourselves and our communities even as citizens of the comfortable First World.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.