The movie March of the Penguins offers an amazing look into the frigid and often perilous existence for Emperor Penguins. In order to survive life in the Antarctic, they have to cooperate so they can withstand -76F weather. To do this, they huddle tightly together in a group, but manage to make sure everyone gets a chance at the warm center of the frozen mass.
As they form tight circles, the penguins swap positions to allow the penguins on the fringes of the icy huddle to enjoy the warmth of the toasty interior. The Emperor Penguins truly live as a community and survive harsh winters because of their seemingly natural ability to care for one another.
As a community of Christians, we sometimes enjoy the warmth and grace of being in the center of our own little world. In this place of comfort, we may be unaware of the struggles people at our perimeter suffer through. We may not all be called to be martyred for Christ or experience trials in life like death, sickness, brokenness, or great tragedy, but we may indeed find ourselves facing burdens and feeling like we're on the fringe of our Christian circle. Maybe living life on the edge is a choice. Perhaps you or someone you know is choosing to live on the edge because of sin and shame. Perhaps they feel like they can’t rub shoulders with other believers because they just aren’t good enough or they don’t have their act together. Being a part of the family of God means looking out for those at the fringe and helping them back to the center.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
As we focus on putting this command into action in our own lives, remember the Emperor Penguin. Don't just stay comfortable in the safety of your own inner circle, but be willing to invite or correct those who are battling life's harsh conditions to also enjoy the warmth of God's unconditional grace and love through Christ Jesus.
Responding in Prayer
Gracious Father in heaven and creator of ALL life, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ who gave His life for me to bring me into the warmth and love of God the Father. As I bask in your love and grace, please guide me to help those on the fringe to be welcomed into the warmth of your loving arms. Provide me with the strength to venture out of my own comfort to welcome those who need to know you more and experience your forgiveness and acceptance.
Photo:Frederique Oliver and Martin Passingham