Some expressions of Christian faith need a corrective from a narrow individualistic focus on ‘me and my salvation’ towards a broader vision in which individual salvation is in the context of God’s cosmic work of redemption and new creation.
Having said that…
The opposite of an individualistic focus also needs correcting.
Without a healthy personal and local spirituality at work, ‘saving the world’ is a thin, hollow facade. As they say on jet flight safety announcements, “put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.”
It was good to have Jonathan as our speaker for youth camp this past weekend. The theme was ‘Rescue’, and we had talked about the figures of Abraham and child-less Sarah, Moses and of course Jesus himself. Here was my quote of the week (from memory):
When American leaders want to save the world, they usually send in tanks, airplanes and missiles and all the rest; but when God wants to save the world, he tends to send a little baby.
During camp, I was feeding Thomas. I was (as I can be all to often) in a bit of a hurry, so wanted it to finish quickly. I can wield a spoon far better than Tom at the moment (though he’s getting it!), and was tempted to feed him myself. However, I was able to catch myself and not only realise that I had no real need to hurry, but also that it was no kind of good parenting to make eating as easy as possible for him. It was better for his learning to eat – and better for my patience-building – for us to work the spoon together.
Very small, simple, less-than-world-altering moment, huh? But maybe not?
If every human needs to be as human as possible to save the world, then every single small act of humanisation matters. Everything we do in our ‘spare time’, with out ‘disposable income’, etc. still matters. Even making sure you get good rest or take enough breaks from your work matter (lest it be thought I’m advocating working continually).
My tiny, insignificant actions as a parent are a very real part of both his and my growth into human-ness. He is going to affect (actually is already affecting!) the world, and the fact that he’s only a (putting on Jon’s British accent) ‘lih-ul wee baee-bee’ is no hindrance to that at all.