The room was filled with whispers and giggles. As I looked around me, the kids were all sprawled out on the floor of the church sanctuary. Some had concentrated looks, others were squealing in delight at the progress being made-yet others were waiting anxiously for me to come and see their poster boards they had just finished.
It was 2015 and they had all just learned about other kids across the globe-kids just like them. Except there was a huge difference, the kids they had just learned about were living in refugee camps, or fleeing as refugees to other countries-leaving behind clothes, toys, friends, a life.
My friends, the kids in Tres Rios community, do not have it very easy either. They are growing up in a neighborhood where poverty, drugs, and crime are part of their everyday experience. But they know that the atmosphere surrounding them does not have to define them. They are world changers, right where they are- even in this neighborhood.
I asked them their thoughts on what they had just learned. One child raised their hand and said- “We need to pray for them.” Yes, oh yes how spot on. I asked them if they knew of ways we might help make a difference amidst the crisis. Shouts of ideas began to bubble up out of them as they took turns talking over one another. “They need clothes, we can fill a big truck with clothes for them!” Others said, food, toys, water, medicines, etc.
I was grinning from ear to ear as I heard their ideas. I loved them all. However, one very sweet voice suggested the one thing we all know is needed most. It’s the one thing that makes all the difference. It’s the one thing that shatters darkness.The sweet voice called out ever so simply- “love.”
Doesn’t that just mark you? No long winded answer on love and how and why-just simply stated. It came from a place of pure innocence, a perfect resting place of hope. So we got out the poster board and crayons and let their imaginations take them away. Tears sprang to my eyes because there in the midst of glitter and glue, crayons and markers- change was happening. A change coming from little minds working away and I saw what He sees- faith like a child.We forget that some of the greatest answers are found within a simple idea.
The energy in the room was exciting as the kids of all different ages were full of ideas, full of hope. And there, I felt it. I mean I really felt it, the energy in compassion- it’s transformational. We stop thinking about the sadness and the despair. We stop thinking about the lack and the worry. We simply start thinking like Jesus. Our hearts beat hard for Him, for His love, for His hope.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
Jesus thank you for the love you give without hesitation and thank you for all of the ways you sing over us. Help us to love better, to love well. May our hearts linger in the wonder of your love and be compelled to love those you put across our path this season.