Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Authentic Compassion

Our first group of kids came in this week and I learned so much from their openness and compassion for the oppressed! Part of our work at CSM is to introduce young people to the concept of injustice by introducing them to different people and places that will hopefully challenge their worldview. One of the ways we do this is by taking them on a "prayer tour" of the city, showing them the privileged places and tourist spots that attract many to Nashville, giving them opportunities to pray for the city and experience historic Nashville which is home to many of the city's housing projects and "slums". We compare and contrast differences between the two "worlds" in an attempt to understand why certain people are allowed luxuries that others are denied. There, it is easy to identify injustice and partiality, but difficult to fully comprehend the good intentions of a society who can so easily ignore such blatancy.

In the evenings, we shared what we saw and experienced that day. As each student spoke, I could definitely tell that they had been affected and disturbed by the knowledge that people could be treated so unfairly. Listening to the stories of the people they met had broken their hearts and made them burdened for those who live in a world without love. A world full of dirty looks and ignorance. A world void of compassion. We learned that compassion embodied a whole lot more than bending from above to reach a hand to the needy below. Compassion is meeting people where they are and becoming a servant to them. Compassion is being Christ to people who haven't seen Him in a while.

-Heather Strange, CSM Nashville Summer 2009 City Host

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