“Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.”
When I was in college, I was a member of a social fraternity whose particular charism was the promotion of music for the uplift of humankind. We believed that there was a divine spirit of truth in music. Our chief philanthropy was a Music Mission (started by our founder here at the ‘Alpha Chapter’ in Boston), where we would go to nursing homes and hospitals and sing for all those whose spirits were downtrodden: the aging, infirm, or those suffering from dementia. We had a hymnal-like book filled with songs in 4-part harmony that we would break out and sing at meetings, in restaurants, or even an occasional serenade to a young lady we wanted to impress. Now, you might think we were a sweet group of young, geeky, idealistic music nerds who took their craft a little too seriously. But we also were typical college students who loved to get together and have a good time, consuming beer and pizza, and occasionally getting a little rowdy. We loved each other and we would always come to a brother’s aid if an occasion demanded it.
For several years after college I worked for an international development and relief organization based in Chicago. We provided medicine and medical equipment and personnel for foreign hospitals in 80 or so of the economically-poorest countries of the world. My work was in personnel, which included orienting our expatriate doctors and nurses and medical technicians to the host culture where they would we working. We always told them in great detail the worst they would likely experience: the extremes of the weather, the meager diet, the primitive sanitary conditions, the political tensions with the host government, the competition among various religious and political groups in their area, the lack of privacy, the prospect of their becoming sick, the homesickness they would likely feel, the possible strains on their family, the desperate need for their work… and the haunting guilt they would probably feel being such privileged people in the face of such poverty.