The humble Savior
Holy Week is a big deal in the Philippines. On Good Friday thousands of people hiked and drove up our road for the Stations of the Cross, an annual trek that seemingly attracts more people every year. Getting up the narrow road with jeepneys, cars, buses, pedestrians and thousands of motorcycles is an incredible experience, to say the least. An experienced person like myself should know better than to try, but there I was, moving at a snail's pace up the hill with cars coming at me with only inches to spare on the side.
About half way up the hill were a group of Protestant zealots with their microphones, speakers and tracts. There were probably a dozen in their group, and they were literally screaming invectives at the people walking by. Their message was clear: "You people going up the hill are all going to hell. You are blasphemers and idolators. Here, come get our printouts and read the Truth." The speakers were so loud I had to cover my ears as the traffic left me right in front of these "soul winners" for about 10 minutes.
I don't think much in the way of soul winning was happening up there on that hill. I remember thinking that the people walking past the screamers were showing a lot of restraint by not taking out their speakers! The whole spectacle made me think about what it means to be a peacemaker. Are different theological beliefs and religious practices so monumental that they compel us to shout, point and condemn? And if the offenders don't respond immediately do we just turn up the volume? Would the screamers' time perhaps have been better spent praying for those they felt were wrong or by offering a cool drink to them in Jesus' name?
As I see the loss of humility in our world today, in our rhetoric about the things that are important to us, and in the shouting match that has become the norm for public discourse in America and the Philippines, I think of Jesus hanging on that tree in humility. And strength. Never was his message stronger nor his cause more powerful than when he humbly took on the sins of the world in his pain and agony.
I pray for humble hearts for all of us at CSC as we seek to do his will.