two sadnesses

Sometimes my heart is so cold and hard.

For example, last month when the TV News gave the first ten minutes to the story about the stranded whales in Northland, it barely moved me. In fact I was aghast that the story hogged so much headline time. I could argue that my heart was more inclined towards Pakistan (and it was) - but sometimes I would like to be able to summon more compassion for animals in distress (just as I wish some people would summon less compassion for them!).

However there are two related areas which stir my compassion.

One was brought to mind by a headline in the online BBC news service this morning. They are making an inventory of all known plants in the world. While the radical reduction in numbers of species is due more to the fact that many plants are currently named more than once, the story caused me to reflect on how I feel about species of plants becoming extinct. I feel sad about it. It is more than a failure in conservation - it is a failure to fulfill the divine mandate, given to us at the beginning, to steward the earth.

The other one is ever before me. In my first eighteen months in this job with Langham Preaching, I will be making five visits to Melanesia. China may well be home to 1/5 of the world's people, but Melanesia is home to 1/5 of the world's languages. That is a staggering statistic. God's commitment to peoples and to languages and to words is central to His purposes in the world. There is nothing He wants to say to a people that cannot be said in their own mother-tongue language - and He wants to be able to say it so desperately! And when the story of a language dying-out surfaces, something in me dies as well. "You mean there will be one less language heard in the chorus around the throne?" Yes - it is very sad. It also will be seen to be a failure, at the end. A failure to fulfill the divine mandate to reach the peoples of the world.

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