“We’re the safest folks in the world,” said Miss Maudie. “We’re so rarely called on to be Christians…” – Harper Lee
One of the benefits of traveling to a Spanish speaking country is the lack of entertainment in English formats. You could definitely label this a drawback, but I’ve found it helps stimulate reading. So on a recent trip to Guatemala, I did a lot of reading.
One of the books I was able to read was the mid-century classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve read this novel, but I now understand why it is considered a must-read by so many people.
Scout, Jem, Dill, Atticus and the gang
If you, like me, have never read To Kill a Mockingbird, or if it’s been a long time, let me remind you of it’s story. The main character is the narrator, Scout, a 6 year old girl growing up in the South in the 1930s. The story follows Scout and her brother Jem, along with friend Dill and their father Atticus among others.
The 2nd half of the book details the trail of Tom Robinson, who Atticus has been assigned as the public defender. Tom, a black man, is accused of raping a poor white girl. Scout tells from her perspective, how there small town responds to Atticus in his attempt to fairly represent Tom.
As you can imagine, the response was not pretty. In fact, it was quite ugly. So ugly that in the heat of trial friends were few and far between for Scout’s family – school, church, community and beyond.
Safety and Worship
I loved Harper Lee’s perspective on race, bigotry and God. Even more, I loved how she tied in the position of need and God’s call on our lives. In this light, two lines stood out as I read To Kill a Mockingbird.
The first Atticus speaks to Scout as he explains why he accepted the role of public defender (he could have found an excuse to escape this role),
“I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t help that man.”
The second is from a friend of the family when it seems everyone else has deserted them,
“We’re the safest folks in the world,” said Miss Maudie. “We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us.”
The Good Samaritan
Reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and thinking about what Atticus does, reminded me of the story of The Good Samaritan Jesus told. He tells this famous story based on this question:
“And who is my neighbor?” -Luke 10:29
If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s something we quietly ask on a regular basis. Who do I care for? Who matters? Why does it matter if I care for them?
The answer is simple – not easy but simple.
Caring for people in need is an act of worship. Atticus realizes this, so he leaves his bubble of safety when he is called on to be a Christian.
In Jesus’ story, Samaritan too submits an act of worship when he steps outside of his circle of comfort.
Step out and Worship
So here is my challenge…
This Christmas season find an opportunity to step out and worship.
The day after Christmas my family leaves on a trip to Mexico to build homes for the homeless. For some of us, the thought of taking our kids out of America isn’t safe. It may not be, but it is worship. For others, the fact of paying thousands of dollars to go is too risky. It will cost a lot of money, but it’s an act of worship.
Step out and worship.
The Friday before Christmas, I’ll take my family downtown to help with a food project for the needy – Baskets of Love. It’s inconvenient. It will be cold. It seems like each year before, there has been snow on the ground or in the forecast. It’s an act of worship. Step out.
Of course, there may be something completely different God is challenging you with. My challenge remains…
Step out and worship.