‘Identity, Belonging & Purpose’ (‘IBP’)are 3 deeply human values and needs. The questions “Who am I? Where do I fit? What am I living for?” confront us in periods of adolescence, mid-life, retirement, ill health, bereavement, divorce, empty nest, and between: jobs, homes, clubs, churches, friendships, etc.
The human yearning for ‘IBP’ is illustrated in movies like: The Incredibles, Toy Story, Parenthood, Little Miss Sunshine, and TV Series like: Roseanne, Home Improvements, Modern Family, Friends, Life in Pieces & This is Us. There seems to be a universal yearning to be part of a family or group of people, able to grow identity, belonging & purpose. Mike Breen cites ‘The Walking Dead’ as a curious example of a TV series (cf. ‘Lost’), which surprised pundits by its popularity. I couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes of its first episode so go on what others say. Apparently it’s a great example of ‘identity, belonging & purpose’ result of human survivors thrown together to fight for a cause worth living and dying for (survival of the human race in the face of zombie apocalypse).
I suspect many of us are quite happy to find ‘IBP’ in family, friendships, work, hobbies and other routines of life. It’s often not till we face loss, forced change & transition that ‘Who, Whose & Why?’ questions press in on our existence and reasons for living. Tragically some conclude that there is no reason to live.
I was born in Nigeria, so yesterday my eyes grew large and tearful on reading the story of Nigerian pastor Rev Lawan Andimi who, hours before his execution a few days ago, looked calmly into a terrorist’s camera and said, “Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.” Perhaps after singing the Nigerian praise song ‘Way Maker’ Andimi’s wife was quoted as praying for the miracle deliverance of her husband, but also trusting, whatever the outcome, that God would show the way, “You are way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God that is who You are!” What would my last words be in the face of such a cataclysmic camera call? I hope that, like Andimi, I would channel Christ’s courage and die pointing people to Jesus, whom to know is life everlasting.
In Netflix’s ‘Kindness Diaries’ Logothetis travels around the world dependent upon the kindness of strangers for food, shelter, petrol, etc, without accepting money. It’s fascinating to see so many stories of kindness. In exchange for their kindness, ‘Thetis ‘pays it forward’ by helping some realise their dreams by financially supporting their aspirations. It’s amazing how the ‘kindness cause’ spreads with the help of ‘Thetis and people like Danny Wallace, who accidentally created a massive cult following, by putting out an advert to join his ‘Karma Army’. All you need to do is send in a photo of yourself and commit to The Good Friday Agreement of doing random acts of kindness every Friday.
At Fullarton Connexions and across the world many are being drawn into Christ’s Caring Cause. Numerous people inspire me to give my all to Christ’s Service, especially Jesus Christ. Mother Tereasa overcame severe difficulties and crises to follow Jesus onto the streets of Calcutta to realise human dignity, identity, belonging & purpose to discarded and dumped children. Our core DNA & identity is ‘beloved children of God’ and ‘brothers & sisters in Christ’, a ‘Family on Mission’. Learning from Jesus to ‘love God with our all and love our neighbour as self’ is worth living and dying for. It’s a gift of New Life, which Jesus literally gave His life for. Along with kindness, it’s an identity, belonging & purpose characterised, by faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness. As Jesus demonstrates. How’s your IBP?