I was watching the next episode of Go Back Where You Came From. I've already had these feelings of, "This is like The Hunger Games. It's exactly the same as Mockingjay."
People starving. War. Trying to escape to someplace safer. Seeking freedom. Me, listening on the radio and watching the news on TV.
And then I started hearing words on the show. Words that made me wonder if I wasn't watching the third installment of the Hunger Games on-screen before even Catching Fire had aired. Because I heard the words district and peacekeepers and rebels. I'm a citizen of the capitol. I hate to admit that. Because who wants to be one of the people wearing cat whiskers and crazy tattoos and clothes that, quite frankly, look... like a citizen of the Capitol. But I sit here and I stuff food down my throat and even when my stomach is bursting, I keep eating because, what, I'm bored, okay? I spend money on things for the sake of spending money -- it's not like I have to pay for my own groceries. I complain about school and sit there some days, not even doing any work, because why should I have to go to school?
I'm not blind. The people in the Capitol can surely see that the districts suffer, do they not? They watch The Hunger Games as their nightly entertainment after a long, gruelling day in the air-conditioned office, never mind the miners working, hammering away at the bottom of some stuffy mine, before they head home to watch the one person they loved most in the world have their life taken away from there. I don't walk miles in the scorching heat with bare feet, to arrive and find nothing. Not even a drip of contaminated, dirty water. I live in a place with four walls and a roof over my head, and what do I do? I complain about having to share a room with my sister. No mind the families of twenty sharing a tent in the dessert. I need my space!
How is it that I was born in Australia? A place where being bombed is an absurd thing to think about? A place where I don't need to hide and run away to be safe? To always have everything I need -- yet always be wanting more, having such big problems, feeling so sorry for myself, not having enough?
On Go Back To Where You Came From, there was a kid, about my age. And one of the guys asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "I want to write," the boy replied, smiling. The Aussie guy persisted, saying, "A doctor? A pilot, flying planes?"
The boy shook his head, smiling. "I just want to write."
I groan when I hear that I have this due and that due and it's all next week, and how am I going to have time to live my life if I'm devoting a whole ten minutes to homework, oh life is so hard? I take everything for granted. I don't care. My biggest fears are nothing. They fears of the Capitol, like, What if I look stupid? I can't wear that; what will they think?! I remember one of the members of Katniss' prep team going on and on about how her party was such a failure because the shellfish didn't come in, and it was such an embarrassment, or something along those lines. And that is exactly what I do. Katniss inwardly was shaking her head at the, I suppose you might call it naivety, negligence? Of the way the Capitol people lived and believed.
What am I leading up to? What am I trying to say? Some people say,"It's the luck of the draw. I was born here, in Australia. And they were born in that war-torn city. It's luck. We don't have to do anything. It's not our fault."
God doesn't create people in His image to watch them die. God loves us. Then why doesn't He destroy all the bombs and war and let everything be peace? Maybe because He's going to glorify Himself through us. We are blessed to be born in countries like Australia. "Oh, there's 22 million or so of them on that Aussie island. Yeah, they should keep it for themselves. Wouldn't want them to be so close to eachother like they are in Japan. They'd better keep all those thousands and millions of acres to themselves, so that their sheep and cows and kangaroos will have the run of the place." Is that what God says? "The people stuck in those cities of hatred, they had some bad luck there. Too bad. It's a shame they weren't born in Australia."
Because He lived on this earth, and to the people who were fleeing, seeking safety, He held them in His arms and he loved them. I think we're here not to bask in the luxuries that surround us so much that they're not luxuries anymore, but... to outstretch our arms and give all we are. Give up everything we want and believe we need and seek to own and have and possess; and give it up.
Jesus came not to be serve but to serve.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.
Jesus came to give up his life so that we may live.
Jesus came to forgive us.
Jesus came to feed us.
Jesus came to rescue us.
He didn't come to build a business, earn a bucketload of money and buy a house by the seaside where he spent so many days, teaching and talking to the people. He didn't come to earn a reputation for having the best tailored clothes and to sport the latest haircut and all the pieces of perfection we perceive to be so important.
Jesus came so that we would know love.
You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. (Matthew 5:14, MSG)
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
"I am a stranger in this place." Psalm 119.
I don't own this country. I've no right to go around, putting up fencing around the border, shoving refugee's onto islands that lock them up and away. Why do we think we have a right to throw hatred at the hearts, at the souls, of people as fragile and freedom-seeking as we are? Why on earth do we refuse these people and their families and their friends to build a home here? WHY? Why is so hard? So difficult? Such an "impossible feat," with, "Too many problems, no real solution."
They come on boats because that's the transportation they've got, okay? If the bus isn't running this week, we're going to take the train, aren't we? If we could walk we could. And what if your mum or dad lost their license, but you had a bleeding wound in your heart and you needed to get to the hospital; this was their only chance to save you. You mean the entire world to your parents and they are going to get you to the hospital. They're going to get you to a safe place. Even though they don't have a license, they start the car and they drive you. Because they love you. They will not let you die just because they lost a plastic square with their name printed on it.
People fleeing for their lives, jumping onto the boats that are their only chance at freedom, at life; they take their papers and the passport, their identity; but this is their chance at life and they're living by faith, not by fear, because they have an opportunity to be rescued. To flee from the danger, the war. And if we're not going to park a cruise ship by their refugee camp or land an aeroplane so that they can jump on board the flight, then they will take the boat. Because if my parents were trying to save my life, and the old van that breaks down and might fall down the ditch is the only option, otherwise this wound leaks too much blood, then I know what they would do.
And then we get to the hospital. We park in the carpark. We walk in. They take one look at us and the beat up van we've just hopped out of, and they raise their eyebrows. "Back out you go," they say. "Nobody who comes here in a piece of transportation like that deserves to be loved, cared for here. Go back where you came from."
Go back and die, is what they're saying.
And what kind of hospital would do that? We have hearts. Don't we? We wouldn't send a hurting person away. A person seeking hope and love. A person wanting to breathe the air. A person whose only dream is to be able to write. To love.
Yet we say no. We say, go back to where you came from. I can't believe you came in the van. Without a license. I mean, you wanted to save your kid -- yet you arrived in that deathtrap! WHY?"
Because there was a hope. A chance of survival. Because if we'd stayed, it would be over for sure. That's why.
With every opportunity, without questioning motives and nationality and religion... can we love? Because that's what Jesus did.
How do we get into Heaven? By putting our trust, our hope, in Jesus. By believing in Him. We sin, we hate, we destroy. Sometimes we mumble our ways through life, jostling our way through mud and dead branches and mistakes. It is by faith that we are saved, through love. Even though we've failed miserably over and over and over and over and over and over again, if we give our life up to Jesus, then we have life. If we give up our life to Jesus then we have life.
He loves us. He won't shut us out.
That's what Jesus does. What will we do? If we love?
Arms open. Hands outstretched. Pull down those fences.
Allow love to be heard throughout the town. Throughout the country.
Throughout the world.