It was my pleasure recently to travel to the small African nation of Malawi. A group from our church went to a resort on the shores of Lake Malawi, the nation’s eastern border separating it from Mozambique.  Malawi is a nearly unknown nation which lives in the shadows of larger nations with more wealth, unrest, war, and influence.  It is a nation that is struggling economically to the point that is unable to provide critical services to its people. Shortages in diesel and gasoline are examples of current problems.

But every place is a place to learn and enjoy learning. One morning I awoke and went outside to enjoy daybreak and discovered only forty yards away in the lake a hippopotamus bobbing up and down patiently waiting for an opportunity to enjoy the lush grass and plants at the resort. Monkeys ran around, camels were herded nearby, and donkeys walked leisurely from place to place.  Fisherman and wood carvers went by without any interest in the animals near them. Members of a United Nations group staying at the resort went to their meetings busily talking to one another in English or on cell phones to offices across the world.

Man And Nature Moving In Harmony
It was an interesting environment to say the least. I thought about what was going on in that moment in a very small space and how all activities moved seamlessly. On the base level of the environment animals looked for food, people went to work, and tourists enjoyed some pleasure. Food was being prepared in the kitchen, workers cleaned the pool for swimmers who came later, I was thinking about the two messages I was to preach, and missionaries and their families were awakening to another African day.

It seemed to me that much of what we often think of as different and unrelated can actually exist without much effort.  Animals, people, processes, business, and political events were happening simultaneously and no one got in another’s way.  People from many nations speaking many languages walked the same paths, ate the same food in the same place without incident. Different agendas did not conflict and in general things were enjoyable.  I also noticed that the environment was not damaged while construction and business was done.

It made me wonder if it might be possible to return to the U.S. and be exempt from interest groups, political parties, networks dedicated to ideologies instead of news, sports without bounties, and just one day without litigation. Twenty four hours after I returned I realized that our world remains fractured, selfish, violent, corrupt and vulnerable.  I am here as Salt and Light but it was nice to be taken away for a week where man and nature seemed to move in an easy harmony.  It seems now as something too good to be true. But it really was both good and true-just for a while.  Oh well, let’s get back to work and try to overcome this decadent mess.