“Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
My wife introduced me to this song a while back:
I listened to it a bunch of times, but never knew what it was about. I always thought the title was “Sleepwalking,” so I was surprised to find out it’s actually called “Burning House.” I think it’s about someone who keeps going back to the memory of a past love, even though it hurts to think about them.
But I want to talk about it another way: as a picture for us to live out this Easter.
In elementary school we teach our kids: in a fire, STAY LOW AND GO – get out of there as quick as possible. But this song made me realize, there’s a time when that shouldn’t be our strategy at all.
When there’s someone we love stuck inside.
That’s what has consistently set God’s people apart in this world. Throughout history, whenever there’s been a plague or an epidemic that hits a city, there’s always a huge panic with people fleeing to find safety… but a different response from the Church. Time after time, Christians are the ones running INTO the city to help the sick, even at the risk of their own lives.
I remember when my daughter Lily was in kindergarten, her class was taking a couple laps around the track before school (her very wise teacher knew that’s the best way for 30 kids to start the day). I usually stood at the finish line to say a final goodbye to her, but on this particular day I had to wait a little longer. She and her friend were the last two to come in; when they finally made it through, Lily informed me: “She’s sick.”
Her teacher (understandably a germaphobe after so many snotty years) heard that and said: “I guess Lily still needs to learn that when someone is sick, you gotta stay away.”
I walked away questioning: “Does she???” Is that my job as a dad? To teach her that walking around the track with her friend was wrong? To stay low and go, no matter what?
I know I’ve shared this before at Newsong, but once again it takes me back to sitting on the airplane on my way back from Mexico City. I got an Exit Row seat, which for me just meant one thing: more leg room. But when the flight attendant came to take me through the “Official Exit Row Procedure,” suddenly her question felt like God was speaking to me: “In the event of an emergency, can I count on you to help me with the others?”
This Sunday is Easter. And the truth is, there IS an emergency. There IS a burning house, and there really are people we love are inside.
Does anyone come to mind when you read that? Easter is one time in the year where people might be a little more receptive to an invitation to church, or to a long overdue conversation. Like Taka always says, let’s not say “No” for them. We can’t just stay low and go; in the event of an emergency, can I count on you to help with the others?
I pray that we follow in the footsteps of God’s people throughout history and run into the burning house this weekend.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”
-Isaiah 43: 1-2
Dave Brubaker is Newsong’s Communications Pastor and movie lover.