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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Would you look at that!

On Sunday I spoke about being part of a school field trip with my child's class, when they went to visit an art gallery. The docent (the volunteer guide) who led the class through the long corridors kept saying, "Children, look at me!"

I compared this experience with that of walking through the same gallery with a good friend, who never said, "Look at me!". Instead, he directed my attention to the work of the artists.

Good teachers take care to not confuse themselves with their subject matter.

This past week we "survived" the day and time that had been predicted for "Judgment Day". The leadup to this non-event focussed a lot of attention on one man, and his assertion that he had deciphered the secret codes of the Bible, and had derived the date and time of the end of the world.

"Look at me!" "I know something no-one else knows!" "I am not going to share with you how I learned this vital information, you just have to trust me!"

"As crestfallen followers of a California preacher who foresaw the world's end strained to find meaning in their lives, Harold Camping revised his apocalyptic prophecy, saying he was off by five months and the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21.

Camping, who predicted that 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven Saturday before global cataclysm struck the planet, said Monday that he felt so terrible when his doomsday message did not come true that he left home and took refuge in a motel with his wife. His independent ministry, Family Radio International, spent millions — some of it from donations made by followers — on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 recreational vehicles plastered with the Judgment Day message."
(from the CBC News website)

Whatever else is going on in the mind and heart and spirit of this man, I suspect there is a very inflated desire to be in the spotlight.

On Monday evening as our house was settling down after a very active, and very pleasant Victoria Day weekend, my wife and I watched the The National news program on CBC. The top headline stories were about devastating tornado damage in Missouri, terrible flooding in Quebec, the enormous destruction caused by wildfire in Slave Lake, Alberta, and the continuing effects of earthquake and tsunami damage in Japan. Each of these stories touched me with the desire to pray for people in distress.

In each of these places, and in others, the destruction of homes, and workplaces, and whole communities may very well feel like the end of the world to the people in the midst of it. Many people have been killed or injured, and there are potential victims that have not been found.

It seems to me that the man who poured so much of his own, and other people's money into publicizing May 21 as Judgment Day, might have put the funds to better use, offering kindness and mercy to people in need of real help.