We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths. Congratulations to Arianna Huffington and The Huffington Post for offering a new way to celebrate these truths with the launch of Good News! The world needs your acts and compassionate loving goodness.
In the darkest days of the struggle to end apartheid, it was possible for some to succumb to the endless bad news of violence and torture systematically directed against people because of the color of their skin or those who had a vision of our oneness as people. But we were always upheld and strengthened by the good news of those whose actions reminded us that we are each God's partners in a love and justice that includes all.
The God who existed before any religion counts on you to make the oneness of the human family known and celebrated. You do this as you respond to the invitation found in the news of the day to make a difference. Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.
Everywhere around us, there are examples of people who are doing just that -- who are celebrating the oneness of the human family.
Atlanta's Derreck Kayongo noticed that bars of soap in hotels in the United States were going to waste. He knew that over two million children a year die of diarrheal illness often caused because people cannot afford to buy soap to wash their hands and prevent the spread of illness. Kayongo and his parents had fled Uganda 30 years ago to avoid the torture and killings of Idi Amin. From his experience of refugee camps he knew that people struggled to survive without basic necessities like soap.
Out of his dismay about wasted soap an idea was hatched. What if the soap could be cleaned and recycled? With the advice of his father, a soap maker from Uganda, he began the Global Soap Project, to collect, recycle and then distribute soaps to nine countries including Haiti, Uganda and Swaziland. More than just preventing the spread of diarrheal diseases and saving the lives of children, Kayongo has brought people and organizations together from around the world in this project of hope.
Like Derreck Kayongo, our own stories, experiences and gifts are the incubators of good news. When we allow our imagination to be engaged with the needs of the world around us, we actively participate in expanding love and compassion. When we do so, God is tickled pink!
Patricia from Seattle says that her struggles with "the blues" are changed by her volunteering, despite her own physical limitations, in a nursing home and in a program where she reads stories to young children. Patricia chooses to work with such divergent age groups because the combination of youthful enthusiasm and the wisdom of elders keep her balanced and appreciative of life.
Patricia may not know the impact of her goodness in the lives of others but her experience is that goodness in action is transformative. She reminds me that every seemingly small thing we do becomes like a drop of water flowing into an ocean of hope and compassion. Opportunities abound in our local communities for being people of hope and good news.
I think also of Bruno Serato, one of The Huffington Post's 'Greatest Persons Of The Day,' who is revered for the fine cuisine served to the rich and famous in his California restaurant. Bruno has never forgotten his humble beginnings as an immigrant who started out washing dishes. When Bruno saw a homeless child sheltered in a motel eating potato chips for dinner he wondered how to respond to the heart-breaking sadness of homeless children living in motels. Using the skills of his professional life he began delivering evening meals and has now served over 250,000 meals to children who live in motels.
Derreck, Patricia and Bruno are the tip of the iceberg among people across the world engaging in goodness, love and compassion. Their stories invite each of us to consider how we participate in making good news every day.
In becoming part of the good news of the human story, you remind us all that we are made for oneness as a human family. You become a birth-giver of hope. God smiles on you with every piece of good news that you contribute to.