“Magical, miracle end to all your wrinkles!” “Take this magical pill and you will never again have to brush your teeth!” These kinds of “quick-fix” messages get shouted at us all the time – and sadly, sometimes people believe them to be that one-time magical answer that will save them from all future hardship. It is a human trait, I suppose, to want a quick solution so that life can be made easier.
And yet the best message of all that has been broadcast for a very, very long time seems to go unheard and unheeded – the message that “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever”. Two seemingly simple sentences within which lie the promise of eternal life – just as Lady Wisdom says (Prov. 9) when she prepares a fine feast and calls to all outside, “Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding”. We should not be distracted or enticed by the worldly messages that are there to tempt and misguide us – they will not save us.
Often, however, this choice may not be an easy one. In situations where our faith is questioned, we have to be brave to stand up for what we believe. I always marvel at the story of Christian Chinese women crossing the border back into China with a single page of the Bible stitched into the hem of their dresses, so that they can retrieve it once safely in their homes and share it amongst their fellow Christians. They apparently do this repeatedly, copying out each page before passing it on to others, until they have copied out the entire Bible – brave women indeed!
Closer to home we have the tragic story of Gugu Dlamini, brutally beaten to death in 1998 by members of her community who did not know then how to cope with an HIV positive person in their midst. She chose to publically disclose her status on a radio station, knowing that this would cause immense hardship for her and her family. She chose the right and brave thing to do – but she paid the ultimate price. Her death however, was not the end of the story. Judge Edwin Cameron was so moved by her bravery that he chose the same path – he disclosed his HIV positive status in public, and his disclosure helped many others. The power of Gugu Dlamini’s action made society look at HIV differently.
It may feel like you are swimming against the current, but when you choose to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,” you will have eternal life.
To think about: What bread do you feed on? Actively choose the living bread every day, and see what an impact this will have on those around you.
Written By: Janine Ward (Co-CEO, Jewels of Hope) and Asset-Based Community Development Trainer and Trained Churches, Channel of Hope facilitator.