Monday, January 16, 2017

I still have a dream...

This is how I, Jenny Harsin, feel.
That in spite of the difficulties and frustrations that are surrounding us at this moment in time, I STILL have a dream.

And I believe God has set me apart to help in some small way.
I have a dream, but even more so, I have a vision.

I believe we cannot acknowledge the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. without simultaneously acknowledging the work that still needs to be done.

And the work has to start with each of us individually.
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The change MUST start with us.
Even if it be just one person at a time.

We have to be willing to step out of "comfort zones," to go against the crowd.
To love instead of hate.
To simply look to the neighbor beside you and see what you can do to help make their world a better place.

To come in when the rest of the world says stay out.
Oh goodness...I so want change.

But guess what my friends?!?
You cannot give out what you don't have within. 

I think about this a lot.
Churches, in general, support mission work.
In fact, the majority of the churches my hubby and I have been a part of do so.
But I have found it to be more "world-wide" focused instead of locally focused.  And where I don't believe there is anything necessarily wrong with this, in fact I believe people are following "go into all the world and preach the gospel," I do believe we are missing out on some of the greatest needs right here in our own country, state, county, city, and community.

I'm just keeping it real here...

Sometimes it seems it's a good opportunity for photo ops to "show" that yes, we are making a difference.  Does the mission work not happen if no pictures are shown to document it?

Mission work, to me, is a person or group of people sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.
Instead of going and helping another country, what would it look like if we got things right, right in our own backyard first?!  Or would it not seem as significant if you didn't cross an ocean to get there?  The photo op in your neighbor's back yard just isn't as appealing, right?

Please hear my heart and don't get me wrong, I do believe that there are some truly fabulous things happening in other countries via mission work - but when do we start to focus on our own country?  When we're the ones in dire need of teams of mission workers coming to us?  When do we come back from a mission trip and notice that while yes, that country doesn't live like we live, there are people within our own country who don't live like we live?  

I just think if we could get it right, right where we are - how much more would we be able to give ourselves to others?
I think locally, unfortunately, churches have become more focused on bringing people in, that we have forgotten that more often that not, Jesus met people right where they were.  And I know some churches are striving to do just this.  In fact, our family is excited to get involved with the program at our church, Adopt A Block.  But there has to be more.  If the "church" was truly loving on the community the way I think Jesus intended us to, I believe our churches would be filled on Sunday morning.  
Because people would feel the love of Jesus and would want to be a part of loving others.
They would want to be involved with a community that shows love.
No matter what.

And to be transparent, I think more isn't being done, we don't go into the unknown, because we're scared. 

"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have to start communicating with each other.
We have to be able to talk about our differences by acknowledging there IS a difference.

I believe greater things are yet to come, but it has to start with communication.
Communication will lead towards truly getting to know someone instead of placing them in a box...a box, more than likely, they don't even fit in.
And only then, will we be able to start to work together towards a common goal - making this world a better place, one community, city, county, state, country at a time.

What if instead of talking about, and keep going back to, what "evil men" do, we choose to be "good men?"  
What if instead of talking about 'this is the way it's always been and it's just going to continue to get worse', we step up and say, "I'm going to do my part to change this in my lifetime?"

 And please, don't tell me I'm naive...tell me that you, too, recognize that change needs to happen! 

I have shared this before, but a favorite quote of mine from James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey is a great reminder that we are better together: 
"If you play only the white notes on a piano you get only sharps; if only the back keys you get flats; but if you play the two together, you get harmony and beautiful music." 

Think of what beautiful music we would miss out on if we only played one color of the keys.  But instead, by using both the sets of keys, something beautiful is produced.

That's how I envision our world...working together to create a beautiful place. 

All this to say, that yes, the time is always right to do what is right.
Even when it goes against the crowd.
DO the right thing.
Be willing to stand up and walk the other way.
Be willing to use your voice for someone's who may have been silenced.
Speak Life!
Share Hope!!
Show Love!!! 

Decide what you will do today to help others.
More importantly, "others" who don't look like you.

Wrapping up my thoughts, I personally like this prayer by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"If I can help somebody as I pass along;
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song;
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong;
then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought;
If I can spread the message as the Master taught;
then my living will not be in vain.

Yes, Jesus, I just want to be on your right or your left side.
Not for any selfish reason.
I want to be on your right or left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition.
But I just want to be there in LOVE and in JUSTICE and in TRUTH and in COMMITMENT TO OTHERS, so that we can make this old world a new world,"
TOGETHER (that part added by me)


1 comment:

  1. An honorable tribute to a very honorable, compassionate man!