Easter Sunday

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First I thank God I did not witness any Easter Egg search in my church this Easter.

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Many years ago El and I were invited to a breakfast with Pastor KW and his family. Pastor KW told me it was his habit to have breakfast with families from his congregation as a form of witness to the resurrection of Christ. Taking the cue from Luke 24:1, at “early dawn” we went for breakfast with anticipation for the resurrection. That habit has never really grown on me. The idea of doing something ritualistic every Easter appeals to me, but I have no idea what is meaningful to do. God has other ideas; he seems to be saying,” Why don’t I give you some food for thoughts every Easter, eh?” (You may be interested in knowing I am developing the theory that God is Canadian instead of American.) Three people among the wonderful group of 300+ worshipful people at TCBC this Easter Sunday were led to me to inspire some thoughts for me to meditate/chew (“hagah”, see Psalm 1:2 and Isa 31:4).

Person A:
He is seven years old. He usually sits in a wheel chair. Due to some rare disorder that confined him and causes him among many ailments, regular seizures and respiratory problems. It is a very depressing sight to see a wheel chair made for a seven year old. A child’s-wheel-chair has such a malevolence overtone. It is a most touching sight to see the parents nursing this child despite the immense challenge. It is so easy to just give up on the child but through the acknowledgement of him as a creation of God he has been give the dignity of a person. To me it is incarnated love coming from a resurrected Christ. However, I was wondering how as a community should we support this family? I thought we should help to bring up the child. We should help baby sitting the child; do some chores for the family; cook for the family and give them some financial help. How could we not support an incarnated love we have amongst us? But we are not…

Person B:
There was this intoxicated guy who walked into our church. You know he is intoxicated because you can smell it. He started talking to people randomly. I suspected he was looking for money. As usual I had half an eye on him as I was conversing with people. At one point he approached a couple of girls so I walked over just in case. I was thinking I should just take the guy for a coffee to let him sober up a bit. I was may be a couple steps from him, when this shadowy blue figure appeared between him and me. A badge was flashed and the command,”Move on” was issued. The command was very effective. I think police officers trained to say things like that. The man moved on. I was standing there not sure what to do. Should I go catch up with the guy and buy him a coffee or should I say thank you to the off duty officer? Should I ask the office, “Are you a Christian too?” On the heel of the listen to Greg Boyd talking about the differences between the earthly kingdoms which use power to suppress versus the kingdom of God which uses love to transform (see my last blog entry), something stirred within me but still I did nothing…

Person C:
This person came to our church a few months ago. We had quite a few great conversations. Today he asked me to help him in a legal manner. (I have to leave out the details) After a few moments of thinking I refused and gave a couple of very good reasons for it. Later I reflected on what I did and I asked my self,”If a family member had the same problem would I help?” The answer was simple. I would without any hesitation. So what is the difference between my family and this brother? Is him not a brother in Christ whom we love as our own family? Honestly, in this case I am quite sure I was right not to help but I am not happy about the fact I felt relieved not to help. My heart was not really into helping.

I was asked many times why I always talked about this kind of things or why these kinds of things always happened to me. I do not know the answer to either question. I think it has to do with awareness. I believe any one living, working or just walking around the downtown core will encounter situations similar to mine. The differences may be that of awareness. Some may just choose to ignore them others may not even register such encounters. To me it reminder me of real need for real people and almost always challenged the reality of my faith.

In all three cases these were real people God led to me to show me that real help is need right in front of us. Person A showed me how I may support those directly providing help. Person B showed me how I may help is a different manner (love instead of power). Person C showed me how far I may have to go to help and how unprepared I am. These are not fabrications by an overly active imagination. These are not dramatic constructions of a playwrite. The fact that God’s love is needed right here and right now is a very powerful message for us. We do not need to go to Nicaragua to do God’s work. We do not need to build a 10 million dollars building to do God’s work. We don’t need 10 monthly meetings to decide what to do. In a most subversive way we do not even need an insitution to help.

I have seen many beautiful people today but the above three caused me some serious thoughts. I felt I am bonded in my middle-class mentality and am not ready to break out to help whoever that requires God’s love. There were middle-class self-protective reservations in me. I was afraid I’ll go too far and lost my self. I was afraid to sacrifice. It would be too painful. It would cost me too much. I can only help when it is convenient to me.

Three people on Easter Sunday made me uneasy. I was in no celebration mood on a Sunday where people were baptized. I am down right depressed on this beautiful Easter Sunday; not just for the broken lives I saw; not just for my inability to break out of my middle-class box; not just for the contrast in lives lived; but rather for God’s love unrealized and under estimated.

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Question I am asking myself:

Am I experiencing darkness of my soul? It seems there are things I cannot change no matter how hard I try or pray? Is it meant to be a thorn so I can always remember to depend on God?

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Book idea:
“Daily Devotional for bookies, junkies and hookers”

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