Saturday, February 19, 2011

Simple Faith and Sinking Islands

The other day as I traveled yet another hour from home to work, I listened to a moderately interesting article on NPR about the tiny South Pacific island nation of Kiribati. Almost entirely Christian, its inhabitants pray every day that tsunamis and climate change won't sink their country for all eternity. Their prayers are so focused, so humble and so sincere: "lord we ask that you come to Kiribati and lift up our islands so that your children don't sink into the vast ocean. Protect our country and lift it up [literally]."

I'm not sure why, but it struck me immediately that to the people of Kiribati this was not only a personal prayer of protection, but it was also a prayer of significant geo-political consequence. "Protect us from actions that are often beyond our control. Help people in distant lands to understand that their environmental impact has a direct correlation to the survival of our country and our very existence."

I thought: this really puts into context the valid yet fear-laden, vociferous and over-discussed geo-political prayers among some in America who pray intensely for things that in the end - I believe - are of lesser significance to the lord: the prophetic notion of the caliphate, the presidents anti-Christian theories about universal access to healthcare, and the infallibility of Israel's earthly leaders.

I may change my thoughts in a month or two, but right now my belief is: focus your prayers on the things that matter most: be thankful for the gifts of grace and mercy. Be thankful that we have a place in the lord's kingdom. And pray for protection for your family against the sin, temptation and separation from his word.

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