Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"I watch the heavens but I find no calling"

This past Sunday night we watched Sarah McLachlan's video "World on Fire." Sarah sees the world's suffering and decides to help. Instead of spending 150,000 on making a music video she spends it on helping over a million people around the world. The video takes us through what each aspect of the video production would have cost and what charity she spent the money on instead.
The chorus goes like this:
The worlds on fire
its more then I can handle
Ill tap into the water try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more then I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able

The video is inspiring and encouraging and convicting. At one point the video shows a woman who works all day and then sells oranges at night to pay for her child's schooling. She must sell 100 oranges a day, for 2 cents each in order to make the $2 she needs everyday. I was convicted by how a small amount like 2 cents could really help others in need. The video pans in to focus on the door of this woman's shack for a moment. It reads "Ps. 118:5-9." The psalm reads, "Out of my distress I called upon the Lord, the Lord answered me and set me free."

Even though a reference to this psalm was included in Sarah's video, even though Sarah was going about the work of setting people free from their distress, she apparently did not find God calling her to do this. Later in the song she sings, "I watched the heavens but I find no calling." It is indeed a sad situation if the world is hurting and God has nothing to say about it. It would be a careless God who doesn't call people to help others in their distress.

Thankfully, God is calling us to do something, something we can do to change what's coming. Sarah is looking for that calling to come from the heavens. Well, our calling does come from the heavens, it just comes in the form of a book called the Bible, not in the form of a vision in the stars. In the Bible, in a letter from James, God inspired the author to write, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

God is calling us to help others. I think Sarah may be frustrated by the hypocrisy she sees in the religious who are interested in "saving souls" while "the colds closing in on us." Our faith must be shown by our actions. The faith Christians are trying to convey to people is frustrating unless it is accompanied by acts of mercy.

Acts of mercy don't save us but they should come out of us as we have been saved by an act of mercy, the act of God sending his son Jesus to die for our sin.