One God, The Father of All
Greetings from Thailand!
As I sat down to write this quick update, I thought about checking in with some of our faithful worship department staff holding down the fort this Sunday morning- just a quick text to say “Thanks and praying for you!” Then I remembered that even though it’s 8:00 in the evening here and it feels like today has been happening for a very long time, it’s only 5:00 in the morning in Gig Harbor, and no matter how much those staff members like me, they probably won’t appreciate the early wake up notification.
Today was a great reminder that even though we find ourselves worshipping 15 time zones apart, the things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us. We worshipped this morning with the Church of Blessing on site here, and while some service elements were familiar and others new, I realized yet again that the Apostle Paul wasn’t kidding when he wrote that there is “one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph 4:4-6). I have now had the privilege of worshipping with fellow believers on several continents, and regardless of language, tradition, music, or physical setting, the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit is impossible to ignore. Most of our team also worshipped with our new friends, the Hmong refugee community, this afternoon, complete with three layers of translation back and forth- English, Thai, Hmong, Hmong, Thai, English. Talk about labors of love, and unity only made possible by God Himself!
A quick thought: Some of the songs we sang this morning and this afternoon were familiar to us, even though they were being led in Thai. I had to pay closer to attention to the words I was singing from a purely logistical perspective, but as I did so, I noticed that different words leapt out at me from a spiritual perspective. What does it mean to declare God as my hope while standing with a community of believers that have walked through incredibly difficult situations to find themselves where they are today? With a group of teenagers who also happen to be refugees? With children whose lives are defined by their parents’ incarceration? Do I understand what I am saying when I declare that God’s love never fails in the presence of people who have experienced the failure of justice systems at catastrophic levels? I don’t know that I can ever fully understand those truths this side of a completely-fulfilled Kingdom, but I was reminded today that each time we sing and speak these truths to one another, we are participating in bringing the Kingdom more fully into being, little bit by little bit.
With love from the outpost of the Kingdom in Bangkok to the outpost of the Kingdom in the Harbor-