Of Fireworks and Society

FireworksHappy Independence Day!

A few hours ago we attended a city fireworks display. We found a nice little spot to lay out blankets and wait for the show to begin. I only jumped a few or a dozen times as the fireworks boomed and echoed. That is a sign of a great show, right? Right.

Before the grand finale had even begun, we noticed people beginning to leave. Gotta get a jump on the traffic and all that. We are a people who wait. We let those in a hurry scamper and scatter while we sit back and wait.

And, as we waited, we noticed something over and over again. People honking the vehicle horns and getting angry during their wait in the parking lot. People speeding through the parking lot trying to get to another exit in hopes to beat everyone else. It seemed to not matter there were small children in that same parking lot.

Someone in our vehicle wondered why people were acting this way. Why a car drove through grass and almost hit another vehicle only to throw it in reverse and speed toward the road. Recklessness that could have killed someone.

Self-absorbed. Self-indulgent. Selfish. Self. Self. Self. It seems as if “self” describes society at the moment.

Yet, Christ denied himself for us by going to the cross. And, He asks us to do the same. When the world is shouting, “He deserves what he gets!” He is asking me to go out of my way to be kind and loving. Oh, how I fail more times than I want to admit. But, God…

When the world whispers, “Go on, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Push your way to the top!” God whispers, “You are beautiful, my child. Show your love to others. Take them a meal. Show that little one who doesn’t feel loved right now what love really looks and feels like. Let that person go first. Make her feel special…because she is. Slow down and listen to him, he needs someone to just listen…”

I am far from perfect. I like to be heard. I like to feel loved. I like recognition. I like to be missed when I’m not at a function. I like someone doing things for me. I. I. I. Self. Self. Self.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with self-care. We need it in order to be effective. But it seems to me like society doesn’t get past that point. Have we become so inward focused that we have forgotten to turned that focus outward to others?

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Oh, God is still working on me. May we all place others before ourselves.

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