April 24, 2018
“Are You an Extra?”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
“We are all just extras”. With those words, my sister in ministry Emily summed up the insensitivity to death that has come into our society through media and games that portray it as surreal and insignificant. The “extras” she mentioned are like the poor security guard who has no role in a movie but to get shot and killed at a crime scene, but then forgotten as the action moves on. In the movie, the actor is an unnamed “extra”. Yet, in real life, the guard has a family, parents, or children or both, a spouse, and other loved ones whose lives the violence has just turned upside down.
In a world turned in on itself, through cell phones and other screens, gaming, and other escapes, we too may feel like an extra. Who has time to remember us in our sorrow, hear our heart’s cry, lift our burdens with kindness, and just be present? (The very thing Stephen Ministers do so well.) Too often, more “important” actors and plots take the focus away from us.
God makes it clear that we are not extras. Though our names are not on the marquees of this world’s list of priorities, God has given us a name. It is His Name. We are His, and when we suffer, though life goes on in the world, He cares for us. In later verses, Isaiah writes that we are “precious in His eyes.” In context, these promises were for Israel, a people to whom God repeats the promise He will ultimately keep in Christ. We Gentiles are heirs of that promise through faith in Christ. In him God says also to us, “fear not … I have called you by name.”
Do you know individuals who might feel like an “extra”?
Call them by name and love them in Christ.