Two people drew my eye this week. One has quietly devoted his life to a meticulous study of infectious diseases and ways of combatting and overcoming them. The other has come up in a moment with an imaginative method of gun control. Both are passionate about serving others and improving the quality of our lives.
How we love to see a skilful goal or hear music that lifts our hearts. But do we feel the same thrill when we hear of one person silently searching for a solution to life’s threats? Dr Anthony Fauci is such a man. At 79 he is still at the height of his powers. He has advised six American presidents on epidemics. The present one is, of course, Covid 19. Some four or five years ago he sensed something like this would happen and he spoke of it.
His words were not heard and even today some do not listen. He has met the same hostility as the Hebrew prophets. The people do not want to know. ‘Go away seer; prophesy somewhere else’ (Amos 7:12). Fauci has had to employ security for himself and his family. But he is a reliable guide and when people really want answers they listen to him. He gives no empty assurances. He warns us of the long haul. There ‘may’ be a vaccine by the end of the year but there will be no ‘normality’ for 12 months.
Listening to him you sense he knows his compatriots. He has a light touch and a ready humour. He is not surprised at obduracy. Many drown their fears in bars. But people like Fauci are a gift to us. They deserve a hearing. They can save us from destroying ourselves.
The other person is a jazz musician in New Orleans, Shamarr Allen, who is appalled by the fatal shooting of a 9 year old in front of his home earlier this month. ‘I have a nine-year-old son, so for me it just hit me different,’ Allen says. He posted a message, ‘To all the youth in New Orleans. Bring me a gun and I’ll give you a trumpet. No questions asked’. He got the police to agree on the ‘no questions asked’. ‘They aren’t bad kids, they’re just dealt into bad circumstances,’ Allen says, ‘People don’t understand that these kids are trying and wanting to do other things, but there’s just nothing for them to do’.
For his very first exchange, Allen collected a fully loaded gun from a young girl. It opened his mind. ‘I would never suspect she would have a gun. And she was so excited about getting a trumpet’. Local musicians have now volunteered to give the youngsters free music lessons. And the community have rallied to support him; $26,000 has been raised to buy trumpets.
These two people, in different ways, have shown imagination and passion. They make the world a better place.
2 August 2020 Sunday 18 A Isaiah 55: 1-3 Rom 8: 35-39 Matt 14: 13-21