AIDS Day, Advent, Africa
World AIDS Day, Advent, and Africa stir within me this morning as I read Luke's account of Elizabeth and Zechariah and Mary waiting on babies, waiting on the Lord. This week of Advent is about waiting. Like Paul, who knew nothing of childbirth yet was racked in pain until Christ was formed in disciples, we learn in this period to wait as if Christ is being formed in us. So Mary asked the question, "How can this be?" and Gabriel finished the conversation with, "the words of the Lord never fail." If we wait and if we pray, Christ will not fail to form in us through the Holy Spirit and the Love of the Father who wants to be our God.
We had a great windstorm Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, and the sky was full of dust and dark in the middle of the afternoon. So we lit several electric candles in the windows, but I could not put up the outside decorations, because they would have blown away in the 40 mph winds. Our decorations are puny compared to our neighbors anyway, but that's beside the point. The point is, we're waiting in darkness for the great light.
This darkness is never so apparent as in places where AIDS is killing a third of the population of many countries in Africa and affects every family without exception. My good friend, Grace N., a Christian church leader in Uganda, has lost two brothers this year. While in Uganda, we attended or were aware of funerals nearly every week of people who suffered and died with AIDS.
Wade Hodges, our preaching minister at Garnett, where I began working this summer, instructed us to ask the question this week, from Psalm 13, "How Long O Lord?"
How long will we wait for the world to be put right? How long will the war rage in Northern Uganda, where babies are born of raped teenaged girls? How long will we tolerate our government blocking legislation against torture?
And How long will the innocent suffer while the guilty go free? How long will worthy people who want to do your kingdom work, Father, lack resources while we the rich waste resources on ourselves and over the top pleasures? How long O Lord will AIDS kill the innocent babies, women who are infected by their cheating husbands? How long until we stop buying and start waiting and watching for your coming?
Today, as you look at the links I've provided, also read Luke 1, and wait for the Lord Christ to be formed in you.