Thursday, March 13, 2008

to "take on"

A young man flew down to Nicaragua. He went to hang out with a certain people who have been forgotten. There are families that live in the town dump. By that I don't mean they live near the burning toxic wasteland. They actually live in and among the smoldering refuse.

The young man went down to Nicaragua clean. He smelled good coming off the plane. His clothes were fresh and his skin was washed. He could have chosen to stay that way. Instead, he went to hangout with some kids. He picked them up. He gave them hugs and high-fives. He carried them on his shoulders. For just a second, their hell turned into heaven. For just a moment, their struggle and poverty turned into a family reunion. It was a great day for everyone.

But something interesting happened. The young man who flew all that way was no longer clean. There had been an exchange of sorts. He gave his time, his love, his compassion. Those children gave him their dirt, their contamination, and their hope. They took on his joy and he took on their pain.

The young man, once clean, was now filthy. It was not from his own grime, but from theirs. This is what it means to "take on."

We are coming up on Easter in a few weeks. In this season, much will be talked about concerning Jesus and the cross. One thing that will be mentioned over and over is that Jesus went to the cross and "took on" our sin. We usually try to understand this "taking on" as a metaphysical or theological event. But I think it was probably a lot like that young man who went to Nicaragua.

Jesus came to us clean and - in the midst of loving us, holding us, carrying us - he took on our sin. There was an exchange of sorts. He gave his love and we gave him our dirt. He have his life and became our hope.

For more information about their trip to Nicaragua go to Love Light and Melody.


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