Our dear friend, Dr. Santhosh Matthew has been asked to speak at a conference in the US on "The Heart of God and HIV".
What a challenging subject! He has sent us a draft of his thoughts which delve deeply into the years of service he and Dr. Saira and others in the Emmanuel Hospital Association have given to the Lord through their love for people affected by HIV. We will not comment more on what the good Doctor is preparing - and hope he will post his thoughts for public consumption soon.
But think about the topic - the heart of God - the things that stir the very core of the Almighty, the All-loving, the Great I AM! What an amazing thing to even consider. And then to use that set of thoughts to consider the situations that people with HIV face.
One of the clearest expressions of the heart of God is the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is God made visible. God enfleshed. God in a way that we humans can relate to - if we choose to. When we see Father Heart expressed in Jesus we must join the crowds described by the gospel writer Mark who were 'exeedingly amazed'.
Did you see the opening photo to this piece? Its a shot of the ceiling of the Jeevan Sahara Kendra. Shiny metallic foil stars with names written on them. The names of our friends with HIV who we have gotten to know in the last 5 years here - and who have died. One star for each known death among our positive friends.
How many of them are in the Heart of God at this point? How many could have extended the lives a bit longer, if only...
Each person's life is a unique pilgrimmage. One thing we know. These lives have run their course. They have been lived out with various levels of awareness of the Heart of God. For many - the JSK team and local church members have made this heart visible. Some have responded. Others we do not know. All, however, have now stepped into eternity.
We know that one of the greatest lies that our world tells us is that we will live forever. Though it sounds to stupid to say so - that is actually what most of us believe - and spend most of our lives living as such. HIV forces us to put that in check. Our mortality - and the mortality of each person - with or without HIV - becomes so very clear as we work among the dying.
The Heart of God is seen in His dying Son Jesus. Who tasted the bitterness of death so that death could be no more. Who bore our shame so that we would not need to be ashamed. Who took our punishment so that we could walk free - into the Heart of God.