I arose this morning to the sound of an alarm and the soft static murmuring of an air conditioning unit that has all but lost it’s cool. I tried on outfit after outfit until I gave up and wore what was comfortable. I ate an apple with peanut butter because my diet is no longer worth starving for when I don’t have just the right thing.
I arrived to the train station to realize that my internal clock was an hour past reality and I was going to be late for church in the city. With no time to lose I drove my old clanky moto on the big roads with the traffic lights and the big buses and I arrived earlier than I’d hoped… thank God.
Sound check, mic check, the sounds of cleaning and music and eating and drinking first cups of coffee all around me.
Prayer. A breath, a whisper from heaven in the sounds of God’s children’s voices as we gathered together to hold hands in unity. Prayers for the sick, prayers for the hurting, and prayers for God’s glory in our holy worship.
The lights shined bright in the nightclub that becomes a meeting place for Jesus followers on Sunday. Come in, welcome all to church. I look out against the spotlights on the stage to see a dim image of people who are beautiful and chosen, not because of what they wore today but because they are loved and known by a good and perfect Father in heaven.
I was thankful as we sang. Thankful for the words of the songs and to God who is present in all seasons of life. Sometimes I closed my eyes and sometimes I looked at the church and sometimes I looked above.
The preacher brought a sermon to remind us of God’s favor and provision, and afterward a call for prayer.
A sister came forward and I put my hand on her back and I watched and I felt as tears streamed down her face. By God’s healing overflow the soreness in her waist was rendered gone and she was given a word of hope. Hallelujah.
First service, second service, clean up, go home.
I arrived to my moto to find that my helmet had been stolen but I remembered this should be no surprise because after all, I was in the city. A sister lent me just enough to buy a new one and I was thankful and I was able to drive myself home.
I drove an hour with my moto and the wind and the light rain on my skin from the city to the town.
And then tonight.
I was tired from the drive as I walked into a messy house with a mom whose husband is on a two-week trip and whose home is covered with the prints of three little kids.
I played with my little Taiwanese friends and shouted baseball words at them in English as we pitched and batted and ran all the bases to home. We laughed together and cheered in celebration at the victory of a home run even though it was all make believe and happening in the dimly lit basement level of an apartment complex. I touched the sweaty wet hair that I didn’t want to touch, plastered on the faces of happy children whose family I’ve grown to love.
We returned to the apartment together and sweaty and dirty and we washed our hands to eat. And we returned to a mom and friend who loves her family and is pursued by God. Once the children were fed and conquered it was me and my mom friend and I was thankful for the moment.
We talked as we ate, about Jesus and philosophy and the church and the struggles and victories of a life of faith. We talked about real things and laughing things, interrupted here and there by a somersaulting five year old and a seven year old who can turn a dirty old blanket into the most beautiful twirling dress. We talked as we did the dishes and we talked as we came to the door.
As we stood outside the apartment door my friend shared with me her heart. The door opened and the two girls came out in joy, pressing themselves against mom and me and hugging us and distracting us as we talked.
My friend let me pray for her as the girls continued to hug and laugh, and it was real and God heard our prayer. Together we said “Amen” and made our plans for next time and the kids were off to bathe and to bed. I said goodbye to my friend and we gave final hugs and I returned to my moto in the rain.
Tonight I looked at my day and I was reminded of the simplicity and joy of the call. The call to be present with people and to embrace the feeling of uncertainty and risk that comes with knowing and being known. Reminded that when it comes to Jesus, knowledge itself is a priceless act of faith that never returns void. That to know him and to believe in the richness of his word shapes the way we live and that our values are the trunk and our belief is the roots and if Jesus is the roots than the tree of life is bearing and strong.