It was one of those events that captured the attention and the hearts of the world. I spent much of yesterday checking news reports and slowly counting 1, 2, 3… all the way up to 33. I had the CNN.com web site open all day and Alt-Tabbed over constantly to check the progress as those 33 trapped miners in Chile were pulled one by one from what should have been their tomb. CNN even had this countdown timer deal going— 00:00:00 minutes since the last rescue (brought to you by Pepsi). Every single man was pulled safe and sound out of the mine than had been their home for two long months— it really was the feel good story of the year. God bless them! Now, CNN and all their press buddies (2000 strong were camped around the rescue effort) can go home now and leave these poor men alone. Fat chance!
There was a feeling of brotherhood and solidarity as hundreds of people worked around the clock. Thousands of man hours and millions of dollars were spent the rescue effort One of the family members said, “It was worth every peso.” And it was. When you are in the business of saving people, you come together and do what it takes to get the job done.
Why can’t the church get that? Why do we spend so much time and energy fighting among ourselves about things that don’t really matter? Why does such energy go into our intramural tussles and tangles over issues and questions that won’t seem important to us, let alone anyone else, in twenty years? If we really had a sense that we were in the business of saving people, then maybe we could come together as one person. Paul says that would be living in a manner consistent with the message of the gospel. Our reading today is from Philippians 1.
Whatever happens, as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together with one accord for the faith of the gospel (1:27, TNIV)
If we really saw ourselves standing on the edge of the abyss helping to pull people out of the pit, maybe we’d get our act together. Maybe we can learn from from the good folks down in Chile.