If you've been following the Mozambique Initiative's goings ons in the last month, you've probably heard about this jazz trio that was here visiting all the way from Mozambique, bumping around the state in a church-van-turned-tour-bus. For three weeks my mission was to cart around three amazing musicians and one full-time representative while not losing any of them or accidentally driving off of a cliff. Mission accomplished! My job duties ranged from band manager to bus driver to translator to lead singer depending on the circumstances. Easy, right?
As the hours on the road wore on, we all grew closer to one another and through complicated translations, had discussions of great significance. We talked about all that Missourians do for the people of Mozambique, and the guys were overwhelmed with both the wealth and generosity present here. They were grateful, wide-eyed, and in awe of all of the luxury. They marveled at the material wealth and all of the conveniences that we have here, and they wondered aloud about what a band of musicians could actually do for a people that, from the outside, seem to have everything.
One of the discussions that impacted me most was when Joel asked me why the people in Missouri seemed so distant. He liked us and all, and everyone was super nice and proper and we sure had lots of amazing things, but unlike in Mozambique, when the music started, nobody sang, nobody trilled, nobody was overtaken with emotion, and definitely nobody danced down the isles or grabbed you in a huge bear hug because they just couldn't help themselves.
We are distant.
We are cold.
As I started to wrap my brain around this, I realized that these two things are directly correlated. We are cold BECAUSE of all of our stuff. We are distant BECAUSE of our wealth. We are so busy succeeding, storing, saving, protecting, hoarding, counting, calculating, entertaining, consuming, investing, insulating and closing in ourselves and our stuff that we find ourselves rock hard and locked up tight.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If your treasure is vaulted in a bank, stored in stocks and bonds, put away in accounts, and converted into leather seats and high class comforts...
SO. WILL. YOUR. HEART.
But there is hope! As the miles unwound with our words, we unpacked these things and talked about the meaning of partnership. And we began to realize that this is exactly why we need each other. Sure, we as Americans can give lots of money and drill wells in distant villages. Yes, we can send our money and fund micro-projects and build homes. And these things are of dire importance and really do change lives! But this is the easy part. Writing a check and then sitting in our lounge chair, in our air-conditioned, quarantined comfort is really not that big of a stretch for us. What is difficult is allowing our walled-off hearts to be unlocked, softened, and cracked wide open.
THIS is why we need each other.
We need real, live models of passionate worship.
We need to see radical hospitality in action.
We need to understand how love casts out fear.
We need to witness unhinged joy.
We need our Mozambican brothers and sisters! Just as desperately as they need us.
I believe that this partnership is one of divine design. That just as much as a village in the middle of rural Mozambique needs a safe water well drilled, so our hearts need to be softened and broken by witnessing and experiencing the gifts that God has bestowed on the people of Mozambique. And only in the face of radical, passionate, and heart-felt song unto a God of passionate love does this begin to be realized.
So what does a band of rag-tag musicians in a church van have to offer?
Perhaps more than all of the riches in all of the world.