One more trip around the Sun and we find ourselves again at December 1 which has been set aside as World AIDS Day. It’s a day to commemorate those who have fallen to this dreaded disease, remember their suffering, and renewing efforts to find a cure.
- AIDS has claimed almost 30 million lives since 1981.
- Currently, 33 million live with HIV.
- 2 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years are living with HIV, and many do not receive the care and support that they need to stay in good health and prevent transmission.
- Half of worldwide infections are young people 25 and under.
- 1/20 adults are infected.
- There is one new infection every 15 seconds; in the same 15 seconds AIDS claims another life.
- By 2020, 12% of Africa’s workforce could die of AIDS (58 million people).
- And let’s not forget the collateral victims of AIDS in Africa: 20 million orphans.
Dealing with and addressing AIDS is tricky because of the stigma that comes along with it: either it’s viewed as the disease of the perverse or promiscuous or due to the use of illicit and illegal drugs. Many Christians back away from extending care or attention because “it’s God’s way of judging ‘sinners.’” I was under the impression that ALL diseases and sicknesses were the result of OUR sin. Death was never part of God’s supreme plan. It’s not just a matter of biblical justice…how about just being a decent fellow human being?
“Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously” (Matthew 10:8).
This was a pretty definitive statement Jesus gave His disciples. He wanted them to go to those who would make them feel uncomfortable, challenge them, even disagree with them. There was no stipulation based on how religious they were. Simply to those in need.
Bring health…wholeness, strength, vitality…to those who are sick…not just physically and emotionally, but spiritually as well.
Bring to life…literally those who are dead physically…but also those who may have given up on people…on life…on God.
Bring protection against those who would do harm. Defend them, fight when they can’t fight for themselves.
Bring the touch of God. Jesus touch the diseased, the unclean, the rejects, the forgotten and overlooked. Despite their appearance, looks, lives, and beliefs, God wants us to touch them.
Bring justice. Who are we to ostracize others. Are we not the same ones whom Christ rescued? So we can turn around and rescue more people?
He makes all things new, we respond as He would.
He gave, we give.
He sacrificed, we sacrifice.
He wept, we weep.
He embraced, we embrace.
He loved, we love.
He forgives, we forgive.
He touched, we touch.
He cures, we care.