Doing good To Others

Wednesday 30/07/14 13:44 PM - Lm. Jack McArdle ss cc

We always have to stress that Christianity is about service about doing good to others.

There is a great Japanese motion picture, regarded as the greatest film ever made. It is the story of an old man's struggle to attach meaning to his life after learning that he has cancer and only six months to live. This causes him to reflect on his uneventful life as a minor City Hall bureaucrat. The realisation that he has made no significant contribution to his fellow man troubles him spiritually. Despite his weakened condition, he resolves to do something for other people before he dies. With all his remaining energy, he gets behind a playground project which has had one obstacle after another thrown in its path by the local  bureaucrats. As a result of his efforts, the playground is finally completed and the neighbourhood children are presented with their new paradise. The experience transforms the stuffy old ex-bureaucrat into a warm and compasionate human being. In the finale, the old man is seen contentedly scated on one of the new playground swings, slowly moving back and forth and softly humming a tune. There, peacefully, he dies.

The symbolism is clear. Only by rendering service to others with a warm and compassionate heart, only by assigning priority in human relations to 'What can I give?' over 'what can I get?' can we realise our potential as children of God. The childish posture of the old man on the children's swing, symbolises the childlike spirit which enables him to die in peace, and in hope.

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