ONE in the Spirit - against global poverty and AIDS
Whatever our gifts, roles or callings, we need to unite as ONE in conquering the global pandemic.
THE APOSTLE PAUL WROTE to the Corinthians, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit... varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone".[I Cor. 12:4-5, NRSV]
Paul was teaching this early church community that while each person is called to a unique role, there is unity through the Spirit. Now, more than ever, we are all called with our particular gifts, services and activities to join together as ONE against global poverty and the AIDS pandemic.
The emergency is unprecedented. This is the worst plague to hit humanity in 500 years. Before long, more will have died from AIDS than in all the wars of the 20th century combined. HIV/AIDS kills children, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, business people, bureaucrats - devastating entire communities that are already crippled by poverty and unfair international trade or debt policies. If we do nothing, there will be an estimated 25 million orphans in Africa by the end of the decade.
Seized by the vision of ONE voice and ONE goal - to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa - DATA's co-founder Bono, gospel musicians Michael W. Smith and Jars of Clay, World Vision US and Bread for the World, jointly launched The ONE Campaign in a rally in Philadelphia. Bono called upon all North Americans to commit to actualising justice, equality, and liberty - pointing out that in the stark light of history, we will be judged by our children and by our God for our response to this great pandemic.
Following the rally, a worship service was held in the Philadelphia Cathedral. As the song "We are one in the Spirit" echoed through the Cathedral, the doors were flung open, symbolically welcoming all to join - voices for awareness and hands for action - across national, racial, religious and political lines.
With our varied gifts, roles and callings, in ONE spirit, we can conquer this pandemic.
Jenny Eaton is Faith Outreach Co-ordinator for DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa).