Great Love

A wise woman (Mother Teresa, that is), once said, “we can do no great things, only small things with great love”. I love this saying, and it so aptly fits my last days of my internship. This whole summer has been an experience of great love.

My last week at ONE was one of reflection, gratitude, and hard work. Gearing up for our final intern event, which was held Thursday night at a restaurant on Capitol Hill, was full of last minute runs to the Hill to deliver invitations, gathering materials and merchandise for the event, and meetings to finalize event plans. The goal of the event was to gain potential new campus leaders for ONE. It was a huge success, with 120 new members signed up and around 20 potential campus leaders. This event showed me the sheer power in numbers that ONE is capable of mobilizing. But most of all, as I was packing up the signs and pamphlets, I felt so fortunate to be a part of something so much greater than myself.

When I met with my pastors last Sunday, I couldn’t have been more grateful for the time I have spent at ONE thanks to the Project on Lived Theology. They were exciting and thrilled to hear all that I have been doing this summer and how I could bring my experiences and ideas to help the youth program at my church. “Wow!” I thought to myself, “could I really make that much of a difference?” Well, the answer is yes. An African proverb that is a common saying around the ONE offices (and if you follow @ONECampaign on twitter, you will find this is a common tweet!) is, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito”. To look at this idea in a Christian perspective, one needs only to look at the story found in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus turns five loaves of bread and two fish into many loaves and fish. Rich Stearns points out that the principle in this story is that “God never asks us to give what we do not have…But he cannot use what we will not give” (253).

So, can I make a difference? Yes, but I must be willing and I must also realize the very fact that I can give and that what I can give is valuable. I have loved my experience at ONE and I am passionate about everything that ONE stands for. What can I give? I can show this passion and this experience to young people, boys and girls, who attend my church. I can show them that living their theology can involve a variety of things. Perhaps one of them becomes a ONE member, and when they go to college, they become a campus leader and advocate for the world’s poorest people. Or perhaps, one of them volunteers at a local soup kitchen. Or maybe, one of them begins to pray every night for those less fortunate. I truly don’t know how to say it any other way, but I can make a difference because God loves me and since He loves me, I have an obligation to do something, anything, so that, as Rich Stearns says, I can “be used by God in a powerful and amazing way” (253).

Rich Stearns begins his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, with a quotation from Saint Teresa of Avila. When I first read the book early this summer, I skimmed over the quotation and continued reading, without a second thought. Just yesterday when I opened up the book that had been sitting on my bookshelf since June, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the page that held this quotation:

Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.

This is the gap that I have finally bridged this summer. I have found how deep my faith has taken me and how much farther I still have to go. I can make a difference, even if I am just one person. With great love, I can do anything. With Christ within me, I am obligated and bound to continue to “go about doing good”, for there is no better way to live my theology than by accepting God’s only begotten son into my whole being and living my life through His love.