Monday, February 25, 2019

A Light To The Nations

I'm feeling very much like an old Peter, Paul, and Mary song this morning:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door...
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane

This will be the farthest away I have ever been from my wife Carole.  I don't do separation from her particularly well.  But today I leave for Myanmar (Burma) to spend time in Chin State visiting the area and teaching about pastoral care and trauma.

I've never been much of a "foreign missions" kind of guy.  Even when I was in my early teens I thought it smacked too much of paternalism and colonialism.  But when I got the invitation from my friend Pastor Rollin Van Bik, I said yes.

As I've planned and studied for this trip I've learned a lot about the Chin people...and I expect to learn much more, both about and from them.  And this is where the "light to the nations" comes in.

When I was growing up in a Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina, the idea that seemed to permeate was that WE were the light (we being white, mostly male, but some women missionaries, from America).  This is the very definition of nationalistic, paternal colonialism traveling under the cloak of evangelical Christian witness.

What I am learning is that I have already received great light from Rollin and the pastors from Chin State with whom I have communicated.  The history of Chin Baptists is one of courage and deep commitment in the face of oppression and poverty and hardship.

So here's my thought for beginning my trip:  we are ALL expected to be light.  We are all mirrors (at our best) of God's love for us in Christ.  We reflect that back and forth to each other.  (this isn't original with me, by the way, I met a missionary translator 40 years ago who referred to her work as "Reflected Light.")

So I'm off to Burma.  One mirror in search of other mirrors with whom to reflect the Light.

Please pray for all of us who will be on this trip together: myself, Rollin Van Bik, Dr. Pat Hernandez...and all we will encounter and interact with.  If the mirrors align right, we could, together, flood the place with Light.

Shalom

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Go Down Moses 2019

Go down Moses 
way down in borderland
Tell old Trump he
Better better let my children go

When these children came to this free
Let my children go
He tore them from their mother's handa
Let my children go

He put those babies in a cage
Let my children go
Set fire to my holy rage
Let my children go

And those who watch while he does this
Let my children go
Are just as guilty as he is
Let my children go

If he won't hear what you say
Let my children go
No tweet can tell the price you'll pay
Let my children go

Go down Moses
Way down in borderlands
Tell old Trump he
Better let my children go

Creed

I believe that
Jesus came
To proclaim

Freedom
for the captive and the oppressed;
opening prison doors
and ending exploitation
of the vulnerable and the weak.

Forgiveness
for the sins that wound
the brothers and sisters
God has given me.

Healing
for the deep wounds
of my life and theirs,
that shame and paralyze and isolate

Jubilee
in new beginnings
where second chances come true;
and economic Justice is reality.

No wonder they had to kill Him.

But Jesus conquered Death,
was resurrected, lives again
and promised that I shall share
that victory with Him.

This is the Kingdom
that He invites me, and everyone, to live in.
To work for now
and live in forever.

Even when I am most afraid
of what the world can do to me
I cling to this truth:
The battle is already won
The final word is His
That Word will be Love
and we will live in that love forever.