Friday, August 26, 2005

hope and despair

One of the realities of living in this post-modern world is living with paradox. It is confusing and seems to require a combination of perseverance, knowledge, and faith to deal with it. Most of the time, I find myself lacking.

Today I experienced the paradox of hope and despair. The day started with hope:

  • from an African theologian, I learned a good definition of sharing. Sharing is not “I don’t need it, you can have it”. Sharing is “I need it, but I see you need it too – let’s share”.

  • From the Director of ELCA Global Mission, I learned that mission is about restoring community. It’s not about us vs. them. It’s about taking a good look at your community and realizing that it is wanting, needing, missing, broken. That a broken community realizes it can only be made whole again by going out and restoring.

  • From a couple of young adult missionaries to Argentina for a year, I learned that that being away from everything that made your life comfortable means that you understand more than ever that God is in control, that you must live on your faith alone, that you will learn and receive more than you can give and that it is the journey with others that is important.

  • From an ELCA Mission Director, I learned that "If God wants you to do something, God has already given you what you need to get started".

And now onto despair. After this full day, I was wiped and decided to take a break at the hotel room - the really, nice up-scale hotel room. And I turned on the T.V. and found myself surfing the news channels – the big city, murder, mayhem, bad news channels. Could I be more confused and conflicted?

So, I’ve decided these are some things I need to ponder:
How do I get to the point that I am not just sharing from my wealth, but I am sharing the things that I need too?
How do I ensure an outward focus in my life? How do I encourage that in my community?
How can I break away from my comfort zones?
And what does God want me to do?

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1 comment:

es said...

Having just returned from our one week mission trip to Honduras, and having attended the VA Synod's Power in the Spirit, I'd concur with your "hope" reflections.

I actually found that one week apart from "everything that made your life comfortable" very liberating. It brought me closer to others -- on the team, our hosts, the people we served -- in touch with the power of the Holy Spirit, closer to God.

I am reasonably sure that our home church (Peace) is moving rapidly toward opportunities to share beyond our wealth, though sharing that much is a great start.

I'd add one other note. That is: We've adopted "Go in Christ" as thematic of Mission, but I am of the mind that it is the Holy Spirit, whom Christ himself promises us as Counselor, that guides us and empowers us for Mission. We "go in Christ" as our example; we "go in the Spirit" as our enabler.