A long break, a new heart.
To say the least, it's been a while since I last wrote here. Personally, making a family trip to Korea to visit my mother and to meet her new husband for the first time took a lot out of me - emotionally but also in terms of maintaining the rhythm of my regular routine of work, family and church. Taking a long international trip in the middle of October is not advisable!
But, the mental and emotional adjustment I had to make in meeting my mother's new husband for the first time, and visiting her new home where I could no longer see, smell and feel the presence of my late father were something I didn't know how to prepare for. And, it took a while for me to find my footing in all of these new emotions and feelings. To set the record, my mother is doing well. Happy and full of life that she did not have during the long illness and caring of her husband. It is good to see her doing well. And I can't complain.
Another reason, perhaps the more real one, for having taken this long break from writing the blogpost here is the time I needed to re-envision our church's purpose and dreams. As I believe, church is to continue to evolve. The moment I think we have reached a place of stability and familiarity, God seems to want to stretch us yet again.
And here is a challenge God has been impressing on my heart and to those at ACC. Simply put: Will we remain as a church for our surrounding community, or eventually become a church with our surrounding community and neighbors?
As for for, I'm referring to many of the community events we have held FOR our neighbors over the past several years. Our neighbors have been coming more and more to our events. Enjoying what we had to offer. Building relationships with us and appreciating what we were doing FOR them. When they asked about our church, we would tell them about it but also tell them about Spanish-speaking churches in the area that they could go become part of. We told ourselves and our neighbors that we small group of believers were here FOR them as friends but never thought that we could actually be a church with them.
As for with, of course, I'm referring to being a community of God along with them. Not just serving them and doing things FOR them, but building a new community with them. Sharing not just our resources and times, but our lives and selves. Not only being concerned about their needs, but opening up about our own needs. Not only praying for them but asking them for prayers.
BUT, we don't speak the same language! How can we building a meaningful relationship if we can't even communicate with each other? And, why are we doing this when there are better Spanish speaking churches in the area already? Are we trying to be a Spanish speaking church like them?
I don't know. We don't know. And the answer to that last question is "probably not." We don't think God is suddenly calling us to learn Spanish and become a Spanish speaking church. But, perhaps he IS calling us (or at least challenging us to consider) to be more than we thought we could be - and doing that by becoming less. To go from being a generous giver to being a fellow sojourner. From being a teacher to becoming a fellow student of God. From a leader of the community to being a fellow follower of Jesus Christ. To become more by lowering ourselves. And opening ourselves up.
Not just a church for them but with them. We have a long way to go and much to learn. One thing we do know is that this learning is not a kind of gaining more head knowledge but engaging and growing our hearts. May God bless the new journey of our hearts.