Friday, February 13, 2009

Stripped Bare

Many of you know I spent time in Lui, Sudan, in Feb.-March 2006 and have seen my blogging about that experience.

Today I was reminded of something I heard during that visit.

The Episcopalians of the Diocese of Lui had suffered over four decades of civil war -- complete with bombings from the Khartoum government (which focused first on destroying churches and schools), ground attacks where people were macheted to death and homes destroyed, and severe deprivation of food and water.

When asked how they could possibly keep their faith, one person responded:

You don't know that God is all you need ... until God is all you have.
What a powerful statement!

I got thinking about that this evening, listening to NPR's All Things Considered story about people who have lost their jobs in the U.S. and are suffering psychological agony as a result. I am one of those who lives only a few paychecks away from destitution. I don't assume my job is secure. I wonder how I would respond to the loss of my job. Would I be driven to suicide (like one woman profiled on the NPR program)? Or would I somehow mine a deeper level of faith, as the people of Lui did? I have pared my expenses and my living standard down to what feels like "bare bones" to me. What would I do? How would I respond if I lost my job with nowhere to turn?

I do not know. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering loss -- whether the sort that the people of Lui have endured and continue to endure ... or those here in the U.S. who are facing a new and unprecedented crisis.

But I know this: In Lui, the people truly live in community. If one family's crops fail, others are willing to share their food. People will take in family and friends who have been burned-out of their homes. They do not live with the illusion of self-sufficiency that infects U.S. society.

And this is another reason my diocese remains in companionship with Lui. We have material resources to share with them. But they have so much to share with us about the meaning of community and of faith.


Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

Nice. I understand that. Thanks. Where I live it is very much the same...there had been 20 years of civil war and mass murders/others in the 100´s of thousands...there is rampant exploitation and clan ¨differences¨ as well as social resentments galore. People are mostly poor, yet resourceful and always, always, religious and trust God...always they say ¨God First¨ before they wish or pray for a positive, important to their everyday life need...even the smallest request comes under a sort of blanket ¨acceptance¨ of Gods ¨will¨...humility with dignity.

2/13/2009 8:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for this affirmation and testimony, Leonardo. We in the U.S. have very much -- very, very much -- to learn about interdependence in our communities.

2/13/2009 8:59 PM  

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