Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of November 2, 2008
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
God and HIV/AIDS
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God's
mercies never come to an end."
As an Internet pastor, I receive astonishing e-mail.
One that deeply touched my heart was from a seeker
in Zimbabwe. Things were very bad in her country,
she wrote. A deadly combination of drought, famine,
poverty, and HIV/AIDS was expected to take the lives
of millions of Zimbabweans unless outside world
relief organizations quickly intervened with food
and urgently needed medical resources. Would I
please write a series of meditations that she could
e-mail throughout Zimbabwe, to encourage Christians
of all sexual orientations living in the midst of
such terrible sufferings? Of course, was my response
and thus began a series of reflections titled, "To
Zimbabwe with Love."
I quickly learned Zimbabwe has one of the world's
highest HIV/AIDS infection rates and wrote the
following reflection. I invite you to think of
your own birth country whenever you read,
As Christians, we must constantly remind others
and ourselves that HIV/AIDS remains a growing
global epidemic. Although there is no cure for
HIV/AIDS, there is spiritual strength for the
journey. Through our lives and churches, we must
reach out to those living with HIV/AIDS with God's
generous and nonjudgmental love.
HIV is not "just a gay disease." AIDS is no
respecter of sexual orientation, gender, culture,
economic status, or religious preference. This
disease affects and infects millions of people
around the world. We must remind our young and
old alike that HIV/AIDS is a reality in today's
world. It is a local as well as global problem,
for the majority of people do not know they are
infected. Tragically, far too many live where
life-saving medications are unavailable.
In twenty years, experts predict there will be more
than 40 million orphans under the age of 15 in 23
countries. HIV/AIDS will claim the lives of both
their parents. AIDS is quickly wiping out the
gains made in life expectancy in many countries.
What can we do? Begin locally. Make a difference
in HIV awareness right now. An old proverb reminds
us an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The spread of HIV can be dramatically prevented
through education. Learn how to prevent this
disease. Pray for and support your doctors and
educators who are training people in these life-
saving areas. Break the silence that so often
surrounds AIDS. By doing so, you will save lives.
Do not shun those with the disease, rather, open
your arms to them in love and concern. Comfort
and encourage those struggling with HIV/AIDS with
the compassion of Jesus Christ. When daily
realities are overwhelming, remember God's
enormous love for you and Zimbabwe never ceases.
God is faithful and will not abandon you. God's
mercies are new every morning; tenderly reaching
out to Zimbabwe. Do the best you can with what
you have, and live each day in the steadfast and
unchanging love of God.
Faithful God, we pray for each person affected by
HIV/AIDS around the world. We pray for a cure for
this dread disease, and for equity and justice in
the medical and drug distribution to those living
with AIDS. May your unceasing, steadfast love for
people living with HIV/AIDS be evident through our
words and deeds of compassion. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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