Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge where otherwise sane people poured ice water on their heads? It became a global phenomenon. And, really why did so many people take part in the craziness?
This world is a big place and we are separated not only geographically, but by our belief systems, our politics, our ages, and countless other things. It seems there are more things separating us than there are bringing us together and sometimes it feels downright lonely, doesn’t it?
And then, someone dumped ice water on their head. And, then another person did it, and they challenged their friends, and suddenly the world got a little smaller and cozier. All those who participated probably felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves. They had purpose. They felt they were making a difference. The world was unified in a small way.
I personally think that this is what heaven will be like. Can you imagine a place where everyone is united? Where we all worship God? Where we all act and react with love? It’s hard to even imagine such a place. I think our souls cry out for heaven every day of our lives. So, when we get a tiny taste of it down here in this fallen, corrupt world, it fills us with joy. We want more! We are finally living the way God meant for us to live and our souls are nourished.
We have all had unifying moments. Those who served in the military probably felt it with their units. College students who were far away from home, felt it with their dorm mates. Even co-workers feel it. And, when we do feel it, we recognize it as something very special and we don’t want it to end.
Our family got to experience this phenomenon firsthand when our cousin Frank was diagnosed quite suddenly with cancer and told he had only weeks to live. Frank lived a normal life, he wasn’t a rock star or a public figure of any kind. And yet, when people heard his story … he quite suddenly became a member of their family too.
When Frank’s kids put his Christmas lights up for him one last time, the neighbors followed suit and put theirs up (even though Christmas was months away). A very special Blue Friday Tailgate party was planned for Frank and hundreds of strangers turned out in the pouring rain to honor the life of a man they’d never met. Food just showed up on the family’s doorstep. Famous sports heroes also showed up on the doorstep! Frank’s story went national and then it went international. People from all over this planet of ours stopped their busy lives to pray and send a card or gift. In fact, people practically begged to be allowed to help.
Once again, our differences didn’t matter anymore. We ALL had a “family” member hurting and it seemed the whole world was united in their desire to honor Frank and to ease the grief of his family.
In this age of seemingly constant bad news, it is nice to be reminded that despite our differences we really do want to be united in peace and love. We grab bits and pieces of it wherever we can find it, from dumping water on our heads to supporting a family in need. But, we also need to be reminded that there is only one perfect way to be united, and that is through the love of Jesus Christ.
(Please note: There were legitimate reasons why some did not support the ice bucket challenge and I am in no way condoning the cause itself.)