Resurrection: New Life and Social Justice (2)

I haven't read your comments about this yet, but here are some thoughts about discerning what it is one ought to be doing in order to give life to others.

There are the obvious answers - be a doctor or nurse, or a social worker; work with refugees; tutor disadvantaged children. Be an emergency responder. Go live in another country and build sanitation systems.

Some less obvious answers: Are you the engineering type? Be the engineer who designs sanitation systems. Lawyer? Represent immigrants or refugees or the indigent. Technology nerd? I'm sure you can think of something.

But there are other ways to be life-giving that don't require a particular field of study or a degree. Because what you do in your life not only ought to be life-giving to others but also life-giving to you. As Frederick Buechner says in his book Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

And I want to go a step further - your life-giving work doesn't have to be aimed at the whole world. Or even a country. Or a huge project. So often we think we are failures because we didn't do "great things" with our talent. Some of us no doubt should think bigger and aim higher. But others don't even aim, already defeated because they can't cure anything or design anything or fix all the problems. So they feel they are failures. But the world is not something to be fixed, at least not by us. The question for us is about how to live and give life, not how to perform miracles.

What is it that you love? What are you truly good at? How can you use what you love and are good at the make the world a little more liveable?

The artist must find ways to do art that is life-giving. The writer, poet, musician, singer, composer, conductor, dancer, painter - those who have talents to share with the world can feed people in every time and place and walk of life. The world is hungry for meaning, and for many people, art and music and dance are the things that convey meaning in a way that other things can't.

Maybe cooking is your gift. Cook away. Feed people with real food, which sometimes seems to be the bread of angels to an anxious or depressed or lonely or homeless or overwhelmed person.

Hospitality. Throw parties. People need parties. People need a place to go and be with other people and share conversation and laughter. Throw parties to raise money for a charity, or throw parties for people who work in stressful jobs, or throw parties for kids who don't have much time or a safe place for fun and games.

And speaking of laughter: Be a laugher. Be generous with your mirth. Toss out your witticisms, tell your funny stories, be that standup comedian you secretly want to be. The world needs laughter, big time.

Be a friend. Have coffee, talk on the phone, go to a movie, sit on the couch, play games with people. Facebook notwithstanding, most of us don't spend that much time being friends. Plus, there are people in prison who need friends, and refugees who need friends, and mentally impaired folks who need friends.

Social justice is a huge topic. All of us might not be able to work in the official arenas, but the world is transformed a little at a time, person by person. Find your deep gladness first, and then look for the world's deep need. There are so many needs. No one can solve all of them. But God has given us new life and we are called to spread it around in whatever ways we can. Not because we're going to be thrown in the fire if we don't but because it was for love that the resurrection even happened in the first place. Love what you do and love the world through that love.