By Hannah Marrs, World Vision Advocacy
International AIDS Conference; Washington, D.C. – “He gives me STRENGTH!” rang through out the conference center as I stopped to watch an international and inter-denominational choir based in D.C. Their music was magnetic, and their message clear: the church will stand with those who suffer from HIV/AIDS whether they live in D.C. or live abroad. Many people from all walks of life were joining in the worship, and for a moment I believe I glimpsed a bit of heaven’s redemption in their song.
Stigma seemed to be an all too familiar and reoccurring word at the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. Typing “stigma” into Google brings up these two definitions:
- A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: ‘the stigma of mental disorder’.
- (in Christian tradition) Marks corresponding to those left on Jesus’ body by the Crucifixion…”
So, call me a bad Christian, but I did not know the word, “stigma” had Christian roots. Indeed, it is associated with the very act of Christ which cleansed our sins – ALL of them. The highest point of human kind’s history, our great redemption, because HE took on our sin, our stigma.
It is true that the AIDS epidemic is greatly manifested in the continent of Africa, but doesn’t it just make it seem more comfortable or easy to approach this subject if we continually associate this disease with a far-away place that many of us will never see? Wouldn’t it be best if we were able to integrate these two ideas: ministry of those who are near to us, while focusing on those who are most vulnerable and susceptible to acquiring the disease?
The church is known for its healing and restoration of souls, and I believe that this is exactly the approach Christ would have us take on today as believers. So, if you know little about the disease, educate yourself about the impact it is having upon your neighborhood, and then look to make a difference in the lives of others around the world at the same time. You can become a bridge maker in your community, church, and world today!
Looking for a way to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS? Check out Lives are on the Line.