A Walk to Beautiful
Wacko Jacko & Oz Lotto - bizzare!
Is Matthew Johns a Victim?
On Thursday evening, we screened the film 'A Walk to Beautiful' in the Parish Hall. It was wonderful to see over 150 people gather from St Alban's and the wider community to witness this powerfully moving story.
In brief, the film depicts the plight of young women in Ethiopia who are married at a young age ie. 13 and fall pregnant soon after. However, their small bodies are still developing and unable to successfully deliver a healthy baby. In fact most of the babies die in labour and these young women are left with substantial damage to their uterus and bowels such that many develop a fistula, which essentially means they 'leak' urine all the time. As you can imagine they stink and it isn't long before they are shamed and cast out by their, husbands who often go off and find another wife. The physical trauma is very disturbing - but the emotional and psychological suffering is overwhelming. They feel worthless and have little to live for in a society that has cast them out. There is no where to go!
The film shows the journey of 5 young girls who hear of Dr Catherine Hamlin and the Fistula Hospital in Addis Abbaba. Dr Hamlin and her husband are Australians and began this work back in 1959. It now has a wold wide reputation.
Most of the young girls had to travel for several days to reach the hospital from their remote villages. The film shows the transformation of these women from despair to hope - from shame to dignity - from lost to found, from joyless to joy full, from outcast to beautiful. They have their condition graciously treated by the Dr's and staff of this loving community. They become whole again.
If you have never seen the film let me encourage you to try and find a copy and have a look. It is not just a feel good movie - although it is true that you will be moved emotionally by what you see. The film had a number of powerful challenges and reminders for me.
When you witness the very basic existence and the lack of any medical care for these people - you cannot help but be reminded of how blessed we are here in Australia. How dare I complain about anything! I have everything materially that any human being could possibly want - yet how often in my selfish heart do I still complain about some triviality that isn't exactly as I had planned. Every day that we get out of bed - should begin with rejoicing, praising God for the blessed and privileged life we enjoy here in Sydney on the North Shore. God forgive my self focussed heart!
2. The Power of One
I was reminded of just how important it is not to lose sight of the fact that one person can make a difference in this broken world of ours. Dr Hamlin and her husband began this work 50 years ago. It is an impressive testament to their Christian faith and their commitment to show the love of Christ. It also shows you that any one of us can make a difference! We can't solve all the worlds problems any more than Dr Hamlin can cure all the women in Ethiopia - but she can cure some!
God has blessed us richly and we have the opportinuty to use all that we have been given to bring God's love and grace to others. We can't bring it to everyone but we can bring it to some. Is there someone you can touch with the love of God today? It may be a phone call, a letter or a word of encouragement. It mightn't seem much but it just may be the difference for that person today. We are not saved by our good deeds but if we have understood anything about God then we will know he delights to see us caring for those in need.
If there be any doubt about the power of one - then we only need to consider the life of Jesus Christ. He was one man - the very Son of God. At the time - his life may have seemed somewhat inconsequential but by his death on the cross for our sins and through his resurrection - this one life has changed our world forever.
The physical needs of humanity vary across the globe but we share a universal - spiritual need for forgiveness and reconcilaition to our God. Jesus alone has made that possible. His one life has transfomed and continues to transform millions around the world. It is because of his work in the heart of people like Dr Hamlin - that they have gone to far off places and sacrifed the 'good life' for the sake of others. They have simply been following the masters model. Jesus said, Mark 8.35.
I hope that all of us might recognise all the blessing that God has abundantly poured out on us - and be thankful. And that we also might remember that 'one' can make a difference. Jesus can transform the life of anyone so that we experience peace, joy and satisfaction. Even people like you and me - as limited and ordinary as we might be can make a difference to others. Whose life does God want you to touch today with his love and grace?
The walk to beautiful need not only happen in Ethiopia - we can play our part right here - if only we would believe in the 'powerful' one, trust in him step out in faith and see what happens. Who knows you too might be used of God to bring his love and grace to others? Any thing is possible! Michael