One World Life Systems

“Serving One God and Developing One World for the Common Good of Humanity”

Christmas Meditation
25 December 1994

“Love Has NO Room For Fear”

              A river below gently follows its course downstream, as we gaze across to mountain glens, which had been gleaned of all human activity.  From where we stand, what looks so calm on the other side, here a chin falls and interrupts the uneasy activity, now, of but one camp of refugees from Rwanda.

              A young soldier maneuvers ever closer, as our group surveys a shower area, where privacy and private parts are part and parcel of public life.  From our knoll I walk across a clay-path packed by those plodding pilgrims and now, expatriates, who even doubt aloud about their purpose ‘for God and country.’

              A man relates that this military man, who faces us from our waistlines, would like to have a wheelchair.  I am taken by the gentleness of his request and the absolute faith in asking, as would a child, who queries without fear of anything that matters, without doubt, that all consequences beside, one’s request is not only heard but finds immediate response.

              Through our host, Augustine, who serves on the medical team, himself a native of northern Rwanda, I thank the young man for greeting us and explain we shall be here with him and the others for too weeks.

              Pressed on the point of his amputated legs that left his two calves looking like small gourds below his knees, I kneel down in the mud to face him.  I feel the wetness through my pants, the same he feels but whose knees are grounded with the very maneuvering that moved him to this moment.

              One onlooker, hearing the request, gave a very normal knee jerk response, making the moment seem like an earthquake would try to undermine the holy ground where the man awaited an evangelist’s word.

              Quieting those that quaked and letting the deep waters run through my own mountains of possibility and practicality, I turned to my guide and interpreter.  I asked him to please tell this young man that a short while ago he was brought to this place and could only lie on his back.  Then, he got himself up and today, he came to greet me first before I was near.  I said no matter how tall he had been before he lost both his feet, he had already found and was standing at a greater height than he had ever stood before.

              A moment passed as the word was received, yet, my consolation did not approach the courage he had demonstrated in his semi-prostrated pose.  At this time I raised his chin which had once again fallen not because of his own faith had failed but perhaps my own paralysis on the practicality of promising anything to make him more ambulatory had left me more numb and distant from his own overwhelming loss and pain.

              Again, I asked that he be told that I could see how hard it was and he had much sadness and pain.  I asked for him to be patient, as we had just arrived, however, over the next two weeks he and I could continue to talk and see what may be possible.

However, I looked at him face-to-face and asked him to hold his head up with the same strength that his two legs were holding his body.  The sadness, now, like anytime in life may bring a flood of tears but with his chin down, he would only see a muddy reflection of himself.

I boldly challenged him to hold up his head, no matter what, that through the tears may flow the Light of God and the Spirit within him would, indeed, shine creating a rainbow and on the horizon, there would be a chance to see pass what had already been and to see clearly a solution that he, himself, would discover, and we would try to work with him in reaching that destination.

I asked him his name and he replied, “Jean-Baptiste” [John the Baptist].  On this Christmas Eve morning, I could only remind myself and remember our mission’s purpose:  to set straight ourselves and make ready the way of Love, Jesus Christ.  Here, another man at another time called me to make, as humanly as possible, a response in Love and like giving birth in a manger, I could only hope and pray I delivered a Word made flesh, if not immediately visible or practical for the moment.

Jean-Baptiste did appear to accept the circumstances of my own situation at present, and a short smile seemed more manners, monstrating the Christ within him toward me.  I pray his own Light of Christ not only finds self-acceptance of his situation’s circumstances but [his being] ambulatory, no matter the vehicle, still fueled by his own faith:  that had all ready out traveled and outdistanced many fears and my own fears, that gave way as I knelt before him face-to-face in Love, as humanly as possible.

In the stillness of the moment, I laid hands on his limbs that the Love of God may continue to make whole what was brought to birth from the mud we shared together in the Spirit of Christmas.


Christmas Day

“In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum,
[“Into your hands I commend my Spirit”] ”

Michael Vincent Crea, Pastor
One World Life Systems
United Methodist Church Team 5 – Volunteer Pastor

[First entry, personal journal, “1994 Christmas with the Rwandan and Burundian Refugees in Bukavu, Zaire/DR Congo]