Sunday, November 21, 2010

Passion and compassion

I've been thinking about putting up a list of prayer items for our trip to Uganda but every time I come up with a checklist, it doesn't feel right. First thing that comes up is the usual wish list of provision, health, and divine inspiration as we prepare for messages, but those are all self-centered prayers, not that we don't need them, but what is more important is intercession for the advancement of the kingdom of God globally, and for us for the next season, in Uganda.

Two words capture the cry of my heart: they are Passion and Compassion.

The word "passion" comes from a Latin root word meaning "to suffer". To be passionate for something means to be ready and willing to suffer for it. What are we passionate for in Uganda? Are we willing to suffer for it? More importantly, what is Jesus passionate for?

For everyone in the team, we may be passionate about different things. I know both Adrian and Noah have a passion to father the next generation in Uganda; while for me, I want to train and equip the next generation to achieve their destiny.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be posting profiles of each of the team members so that you can get to know us better. I invite you to pray for each of the team members to recognize their passion and to develop the conviction that they will be ready and willing to suffer for it.

The second word is "compassion". I have a long history with this word, dating back from Teens Conference 1996(?) where I was the co-leader of team "Compassion"-- the theme of the year happened to be fruit of the spirit. We spent countless hours trying to come up with a team cheer, and after many brain cycles and consultations, we came up with the tag line, "Compassion, it's never out of fashion."

But let's come back into the present. I was reading Shane Claiborne's book recently called "Irresistible Revolution", a recommended read for anyone seeking for a Christianity that is exciting and relevant, and he talked about compassion as suffering with the people, be it the poor, the oppressed, the minority, the outcasts. Again, going back to word origins meaning "to suffer with", it means not just giving out from arm's length, but integrating oneself into the community, to view their problems not just as theirs, but ours.

The Africans have a wonderful concept called "ubuntu" signifying that every person is only a person through other people, that our humanity is bound up in each other's. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa says that there is no English word translation for it, but I'm going to propose one, and it's called "compassion".

Please pray that we would begin to understand and live out compassion for people--that we may identify with them, love them, accept them, believe in their destiny, support them, and even learn to be vulnerable to them.

Thank you for joining and supporting us in our journey of discovering passion and compassion in the land of Uganda.

No comments:

Post a Comment