Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Beijing Or Bust!

Hello Crazy Friends,

China is getting ready for the upcoming Olympic Games. People from all over the world will soon converge on the People's Republic to witness the planet's greatest sports extravaganza. In fact, you may be one of those hundreds of thousands of sports fans who will travel half way around the world to watch athletes jump, run, bounce balls, leap over barriers, etc. However, before you buy your tickets you might want to take a look at this video clip. Apparently, train travel is a bit of a challenge in China. You might want to consider travel by bicycle or rickshaw instead of train. Just a thought.

Watching this clip reminds me of riding crowded rush-hour buses and subway trains in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil where I used to serve as a missionary. It is an amazing experience to find yourself jammed into a vehicle with 200 people that was designed to hold 45. It gives a whole new meaning to the word "fellowship."

The challenge of Brazilian city buses is that you have to enter the bus from the back, go through a turnstile where you pay your fare, then work your way from the back of the bus to the very front where you exit the bus. The press of people is such that you literally slither your body against the bodies of all the other people to make your way to the exit door before the driver passes your bus stop. You have to time things just right... make your way forward but not too far forward, or else you may get pushed out, and then pull the bell rope with enough lead time for the driver to stop the bus where you want to get off. If your timing is off you can easily end up several stops beyond where you wanted to get off and will have to walk back.

Of course, this is how much of the world travels. In this country we have grown used to having a lot of space around us at all times. We each travel in a little bubble of space, never allowing people to get within our comfort zone. Most of the world does not have this luxury. They live jam packed together. They travel on overcrowded buses and subways. They drive bumper to bumper. They shop in overcrowded markets and stores, waiting in long crowded lines to pay.

The press of the crowd makes me crazy. I can stand it for a while but am always glad when the bus stops and I can get out. But I am reminded that Jesus had this kind of experience on many occasions. One time is recorded in Mark 2 when the press of the crowd was so great that four men took the roof of the building apart and dropped their friend in with ropes so that Jesus would heal him. And their plan worked. Even with human flesh pressing in on Him from every side, Jesus turned His attention to see and heal that one man who needed His help so desperately. In the midst of the crowd He focused His compassion and healing power on a man with faith to believe that Jesus could cure him.

Mark 5 records another time and another crowd. Jesus was being pressed and jostled from every side but a sick lady made her way through that mass of humanity to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. Instantly she was healed of her affliction. In that moment, Jesus stopped, turned and confronted the woman. In the midst of the multitude Jesus could perceive the one person who had faith to believe in Him. And out of all those people, she was apparently the only one in the crowd who got healed that day.

I confess that I don't like crowds. And I also don't like anyone to push me from behind to cram me into a bus or into the subway door. However, at those times I find myself remembering that Jesus loves every one of these people individually and wants all of them to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. There will be a lot of people in Heaven, but I don't think it will ever seem crowded. There is room for all who want to be there.

From one crazy to another,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on anything here. I look forward to feedback from you.