Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mysteriously Exposed

2-6-2010

I enjoyed church today. In the morning I got to talk with many friends and reconnect with people all across the globe. The technology we have these days is quite amazing. Veronica (one of the other SMs here) was sick today. Steven is just now getting over his sinus infectious cold thing and Emily came over for some soup and was groaning over a stomach ache. So it’s like 3 out of 4 SMs are sick. I will not get sick! Not here, not now.

On one of the first days of arriving in Almaty I burned my hand pretty bad on a cast iron pan. As I held it under cold water I prayed frantically that it wouldn’t blister and get all nasty because at that point I was sure that it would get infected and I’d be in the hospital. The panic of my mind took my thoughts on a wild adventure of all the horrifying things that would happen because of this burn. But, because of either the cold water or the prayers, or maybe a bit of both, the burn never blistered and never got bad. It just kind of turned into a scar. That was nearly 3 weeks ago now. Today, I woke up and got out of the shower and noticed that my burn from 3 weeks ago had begun to blister except I was able to pop it and peel the skin off to find it perfectly fine. But, I kept thinking why now? After I had forgotten about the burn and accepted the scar, it bubbled up (I’m sorry, I know that sounds gross). Crazy. I could go a many different directions with this illustration, but I’ll let you ponder it yourself today.

From the beginning of my “ministry” I have been quite enthused with getting a clearer picture of the character of God. I wrote and preached a whole series of sermons about getting a clear picture of the character of God, but I have realized that my view of God is still so narrow. At first, I was having a hard time with this, thinking that I was climbing a mountain with no peak, which is essentially what I’m doing. I’m not saying that I thought I had God figured out, because I’ve never been that na├»ve, I just am realizing as I grow and mature that God is really big, like really, really big. I can’t fit Him into my previous lists and bullet points. He’s bigger than my proof texts and opinions. Today, instead of feeling intimidated by this, I felt freed. I felt like worshipping God more today than I had in a very long time. I felt like worshipping God, not because He had done nice things for me (even though he has) but because He is. He is deep, profound, bottomless, inexplicable, unintelligible, unfathomable, incomprehensible, perplexing, and just a tiny bit exposed. Exposed in us and things surrounding us. Exposed in the majestic mountains South of my apartment, and in the splendor of Yosemite Valley. Exposed in the Arizona sunset and in the face of the ones you love. He is exposed in the longings of my heart, and in the missing pieces of my mind. He is so veiled and mysterious, yet exposed.

When I was young I felt “called” to the “ministry.” Most people, including my old self would say that this means I felt called to be a pastor, evangelist, or theologian of some sort. When you go on a mission like I am on you are not supposed to doubt your calling, you’re supposed to get reinforced. And if I posted on here that I am doubting my calling I would get several emails filled with worry and concern, so I would never do something like that, I would never talk about “doubting” my calling. But, let me say this: I am rethinking what it means to be “called.” What it means to “do ministry.” Because in some sense, every Christian is called to the ministry. Jesus commanded us to love each other and tell others about the love we have. When He commanded that, He wasn’t talking to a specific group of people, He was talking to all His followers. So are you a follower of Christ? If you are then that means that you have been, and are called to ministry in His service. So where does that leave me? What are my goals? What are my plans? What do I want God’s ministry through me to look like? These are all good questions that don’t have a static answer. I want to experience radical love and I want to impart radical love. I want to live and overcome, I want to be able to be wrong, and I want to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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