We're obsessed with size, scale and numbers. On Facebook we connect with hundreds or even thousands. We count our likes and comments. We share pictures; we discuss global problems with friends and Tweet them to our followers. We get round-the-clock news via television and Internet: another earthquake in Nepal, more Saudi airstrikes, an ISIS leader killed, another bizarre story from North Korea, murders and mysteries, crashes and corruption, and it's election season again.
Need a distraction? How about the summer movie everyone is talking about: The Avengers: Age of Ultron. (Say it in a loud voice.) In this movie, humanity is saved from near certain annihilation.
Sounds familiar, and it's BIG!
Think about it though. A band of heroes with special powers and abilities face an evil menace. These heroes do all the best thinking and fighting while the rest of humanity and their inept leaders blunder about helplessly. Meanwhile, off-screen regular people (like us) are dying by the tens of thousands.
So how is that a relief?
We watch these movies and let our minds drift through feelings approximating courage, fear, relief, and hope. Maybe even love. Of course, we identify with the heroes, not with the nameless masses dodging falling buildings far below.
Then we walk out of the theater feeling bigger, a little lighter in the step and ready for action. But soon, like Walter Mitty (a character in another kind of movie), we get mired in the ordinary again.
What can we do?
Seriously, here's a thought. We can, each of us, embrace being small and let go of the illusion that we could (or should) be in control despite all the information and tools we seem to have.
And then we can release the burden of making ourselves any more significant than we already are.
Truth is, you will never in your life be more significant than you are right now. The life of God has breathed in you; the God who fills the universe has loved you and died for you. What could you possibly to do to make yourself more significant than that?
Jesus had a huge vision that would change the world, but it belonged to the Father. Jesus' burden was light; it was not to be in control. He did what the Father was doing here and now with the people in front of him.
Talking or writing about Alongsiders International as a movement comes perilously close to a line we don't want to cross. It's not our job to make ourselves big. People are inspired by movements, no doubt, but here is the movement that thrills us most.
Today, an Alongsider rode his bicycle to the home of his little brother, a boy hardly anyone deems significant, and helped him with his homework.
Today, another Alongsider visited her little sister's house and helped her wash herself and wash her clothes.
They know the most important thing: what the Father is doing.
What they do in step with the Father, though hardly anyone may notice, changes the world.
Can we put aside the burden and distraction of being big and living large - of size, scale and numbers - and just see the love of the Father and do the same?