The story of the duct tape mum has gone viral, and deservedly so. Watch the video footage at Adelaide Now for some truly inspiring footage. On Sunday I will have a photo of them up on the wall at church. We are looking at our Christian calling to hospitality as we eat breakfast together in church. These are my rough notes for when we begin our sermon discussion with one of the pictures from the Adelaide Now gallery, which were taken by Calum Robertson and Hayden Richards. We have more to talk about that relates to our situation, but this is where we will begin.
In that amazing picture, of the surfer with the woman strapped to his back, who do you think is the happiest person?
Why is the young fellow, who has this great weight on his back, cramping his style, so happy?
Do you notice that he is not merely carrying her; he is bound to her? He has not had pity on her. He has picked her up and carried her.
Think about this. She is not bound to him. He is not carrying her. He is bound by his compassion. When they are out in the water, or even standing there, he cannot let her go! If a shark comes, he cannot save himself by letting her go. By having compassion, he has tied his fate to hers. This is the difference between compassion and pity. Christ tied his fate to ours, and so was tied to the cross.
Compassion is not convenient, but it makes us.
Offers of help have poured in for this woman. People have offered to supply free duct tape. Someone is working on a harness that would be more convenient, and perhaps make the surfing better.
Our compassion and hospitality inspire others. It is a witness to the world. It shows Christ. It shows people how to live.
It doesn't hurt that he is handsome and she is beautiful and that it is an amazing story. We all love good news stories in the face of adversity. The news and the photos have gone viral round the world.
But someone still has to do the actual carrying, and being bound to a great burden, or there is no story!
Our calling as people of Christ, is to carry the people who are not newsworthy and photogenic. We are to carry the unlovely and the unwanted. It will make us!
In the old legend of St Christopher, Christopher carries people across a river as a kind of human ferry man. He bound himself to them, although perhaps not using duct tape. Wikipedia says
After Christopher had performed this service for some time, a little child asked him to take him across the river. During the crossing, the river became swollen and the child seemed as heavy as lead, so much that Christopher could scarcely carry him and found himself in great difficulty. When he finally reached the other side, he said to the child: "You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." The child replied: "You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work." The child then vanished.
The legend is true myth. It reflects Matthew 25. Will we do the same?
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
Direct Biblical quotations in this page are taken from The New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please note that references to Wikipedia and other websites are intended to provide extra information for folk who don't have easy access to commentaries or a library. Wikipedia is never more than an introductory tool, and certainly not the last word in matters biblical!
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