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A story from the book upon which the old movie “The Bridge on the River Quai” was based, is telling. The Irish Republican Army had a ‘buddy’ system called ‘The Mucker System.’ In this system soldiers agreed to ‘muck’ someone else. That meant the other person was more important than ones self – physically, socially, spiritually – in all ways. In the camp on the Quai there were two people who were muckers to each other. One day one of the two men fell ill with Malaria. Since the captors basically gave only one aspirin to those who took ill, most people never recovered. So when someone took ill they were placed in a bamboo hothouse where all the sick people were lodged. If someone died, their body remained in the house and at the end of the week the house would be burned – dead bodies and all – and a new one built. So this man was placed in the hothouse. At every meal, under the penalty of death, the man’s mucker snuck out of the eating-place and went to the hothouse to feed the sick man. At night he would then come out of his barracks, again under the penalty of death, with all his blankets wrapped around him and wrap the man in the blankets to keep him warm. At the end of the week the sick man was well – but his mucker eventually died from contracting the disease. A sad story, to be sure. But consider that through it all a large portion of the camp was converted to Christ because of this shining example of Christ-like love. By the time the war ended and the camp was closed, there was a symphony orchestra, and there were worship services on Sunday – all because one man, one mucker, considered others better than himself and lived for others.

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