i’m going to say good bye to my kids tonight. it’s going to be so weird not preaching every sunday. i’m sure i’ll get used to it. i’d like to think that i’ll still be in touch with everyone at church. but i know it’ll be hard to stay in touch when i don’t see everyone regularly. i know i’m leaving for a good reason. but why does leaving feel so weird???
last sunday was the last service of our church…but this sunday we met at the church again for another last service. kind of funny, but i think it was good. so so happy that starting a new church is not rushed any more. i get to keep working with English ministry so for me it’s not new ministry. but the adults will start looking for a new pastor. i’m hoping for lots of prayer and all voices being heard this time! all things DO happen for the best!!!
i love what i do! last saturday, after eating a delicious home cooked meal i played board games with people. had ice cream and brownies for dessert. another saturday i just hung out at a ski lodge while watching people ski. and to prepare for sundays i get to spend time learning about things i like thinking about anyway. was i made to be in the ministry? my job doesn’t feel like a job. i love leading bible studies, preparing and delivering sermons, praying for and with people, and i like being with people more than i like spending time by myself. and i get paid to do what i love to do and would want to do with my time anyway. i get paid in chewing gum…j/k. sounds too good to be true, right? but it is real. i love it. things are so different from a year ago when i was still struggling with depression and trying so hard to stay alive! thanks God. thanks everyone. 🙂
i’ve gone mad i tell you. i slept two days pretty much straight through. how does one do that? i haven’t written anything since friday morning, which by a writer’s standard feels like an eternity and a day away. and actually i didn’t even leave the apartment yesterday. wow. i feel like i’m waking up from a coma, like life has gone past before me and i’m trying to catch up to it.
many years back, i heard a pastor preach and the only thing i remember is that he kept saying, “save yourself!” he was using that as a rhetorical device to point out that jesus could have saved himself but he didn’t. at least i think that’s what the pastor was trying to do. in my case, i think i do need to save my self! but now i’m wondering if the pastor’s point was that we can’t save ourselves no matter what we do.
how important are sermons in one’s christian life? at my church, lately, i’m thoroughly uninspired by the sermons. i don’t feel like sitting through the sermons anymore. but i know when the preaching is good that it really gets me going throughout the week. i don’t think i should have to miss out on hearing good sermons on sundays just so i could go to the same church with my friends.
i can’t believe how hard the past ten days or so have been. there was one surgery, two deaths, and another surgery coming up for families of my friends. i had a difficult time doing my work as one might expect since i get affected by things that are going on around me. since i’ve been at my church, we’ve never had a funeral until yesterday. i don’t know if there have been others. it was sad. i helped organize for the refreshments after the funeral service. we didn’t know how many people were going to come so we prepared tons of food. people were happy to take left overs home.
anyway since i wasn’t able to really concentrate last week, i haven’t written my paper which is due tuesday. a complete draft of the thesis for graduation is due tomorrow! i am so thankful that my advisor is going to let me turn in one paper now and then the rest later. how did this semester pass by so fast?
as i wrote a thankyou note to my friends just a minute ago for a wonderful dinner last night to celebrate my life, i realized that i am part of an amazing community. while i am having a difficult time worshipping god right now, like the paralytic who was carried to jesus by friends, i am hoping that faith of my friends will carry me through this time period. so i decided to go to church. i am part of the body of christ and want to be there to worship god together with my fellow brothers and sisters in christ. what can i say, people love me and accept me at the church i belong to and that counts for something.
as i have done for the past three years or so, i went to morning prayer today. and i wondered, why should any of the prayers we pray matter? why should god who created the universe care or help me to finish my semester at school or to have more wisdom?
a few years ago, i wrote a paper on petitionary prayer. my thesis was that petitionary prayers play an indispensable role in our sanctification process: as our prayers get answered (or not answered) we learn about the character of god and as we pray we experience god of the universe as our god.
i don’t know how job or st. paul kept up their faith in god. sure when things are going well, you can believe that god is for you. ironically, at those moments you might forget about god because you don’t need god to help you. but when things are going badly and take a turn for the worst, people tend to turn to god and ask god for help. and in such difficult times, god may be more real to you and you may rely on god more for everything because you can’t rely on anything else.
but what happens when a bad thing happens and another bad thing and another bad thing happen to a person? i don’t mean that things that happen have to be viwed as “objectively” morally a bad thing. but when someone feels that gods is not with them, that god is not for them, what happens to one’s faith?
i’ve been told in the past to seek god more in times of trouble: read the scripture, spend time in prayer, and rely on your community of faith. but what happens when those things fall through as well? then i suppose, you still read the scripture, pray to god more even if you are praying that you don’t know what to pray, and tell others to pray for you.
i’m reminded of prosperity gospel – people counting on god to bless them b/c they believe that god is good, and perhaps also b/c they believe their works warrant their blessing. most people would say, no god never promised happiness just that god would be with us through it all, the good, the bad, the happy as well as the sad moments. but what does it take for one to say, god is not for me (as opposed to god being for you, showing you favor). more importantly, when you have been pushed to the edge, to your limits, how can you turn back to god?
god doesn’t test us more than we can bear, right? the bible says so. probably god knows what your limits are. but when you feel that you have been pushed and pushed to the point you can’t bear the pain, suffering, disappointment, despair anymore, what then?