Get in the Trenches

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Pope Francis is back in Rome after a much-anticipated journey to America.  While he was here, he spoke to many people who the world will recognize (President Barack Obama, members of Congress, the United Nations).  Yet the most significant part of this journey to the states was the love that Pope Francis showed the least of these.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) 

What the world needs the most?  Human connection.  We have a culture that talks itself blue in the face about love and acceptance, but inside is yearning and longing for authentic love and the ability to recognize self worth.

Human connection. It means getting out of your comfort zone and off the path defined by your own will.  It means connecting with humans – now such a crazy concept thanks to the blessing/curse of social media.  It is being Christ’s hands and feet to a world so desperate for touch and care.

We have a God who sees hearts like we see faces, a God who hears ache like we hear voices, and we have a God who touches and holds and heals our wounds like we long to be held.
(Ann Voskamp) 

How are you living your faith? Your vocation?  Our faith is not supposed to be a clean and tidy hour on Sunday morning.  It is not an accessory to put on at convenient times, and hide away when it doesn’t match the rest of your outfit.  Instead, it’s a faith that ignites our passion for others, to serve, to do things the world will look at and scoff at.

I don’t know your thoughts on Pope Francis.  I know that opinions are varied across the board and there is a constant push to politicize his comments out of context.  But I do know this.  Pope Francis knows how to practice what he preaches.  There is not a disconnect between what he says and what he does.  He tells us to love the poor…and then goes and spends time with the poor themselves.

Get in the trenches.  

Do you know why no one wants to get in the trenches with their faith?  It’s not pleasant.  It means getting yourself dirty, working with those who no one wants to even acknowledge, and pour your life blood into a mission that you may never see results from.  It’s about planting seeds that may not bloom for years and years, when no one even remembers your name.

It’s not about you.  The trenches are not an environment for self glorification.  If anything, it’s quite the opposite.  You have to make yourself small to climb down and connect with people on a personal level.

It is not enough for your faith life to post a Bible verse on Facebook once in a while.  Your faith life is a head and heart combination that should invade into every aspect of your life.  Your interactions with family, friends, classmates, co-workers…even your enemies.  We’re called to live radical lives.  So if this is your battle cry to follow the example Pope Francis is showing the world, let’s start living it.

Christ has no body but yours.  No hands, not feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.  Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.  Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.  Yours are the hands, yours are the feet.  Yours are the eyes.  You are his body…Christ has no body now on earth but yours.  (Saint Teresa of Avila).

I’m done with a boring life that drains the joy out of me.  

Our time on earth – yes, a blink of the eye or a speck of dust in comparison to the expansiveness of eternity – is a chance for us to connect with people here in order to spend eternity with them in Heaven.  A life that radiates so much joy that people wonder what we have that is different.  What gives us hope in a world full of so much hatred and despair.

Live your life in the trenches.