Monday, March 29, 2004

This Body we remember

I am not sure who all has been to our fotopage and happens to be reading this, but for those in the know we found a church here in Shanghai and it is a big deal for us. It can be difficult, as I have said before, to realise that we are in a communist country right now, and that only a short (by Canadian standards) journey away they are arresting our brothers and sisters and placing them in prison. Some of that fell away though when we went to church this Sunday. The service we went to was for foreign passport holders only and as we approached the gates to go into the church compound there were two policemen just a few meters down the road idly watching the people going in. I have no doubt that they will have in mind certain people who should not be going in. When we entered the sanctuary there was a heavy presence of the Spirit there. For all the charismatics out there I will clarify that there were no outward manifestations of His presence, but just a brooding joy and soveriegn sanctity. I wept. The sweetness came in the flood of realisations about what we were joining. There are people attending from all over the globe; Europe, Africa, North America, Australia, & Asia just from the introduction of the newcomers that Sunday. The Father's children were coming together in a sweet prophetic declaration to the spirit residing over this country, reminding him that from every tongue and tribe and nation God will gather a people unto Himself. There are also people from all different denominations there. We are there because of our need. Here we gather not because of some familiar format, but rather because we are in need. No one we talked to asked what church we are from and I cannot tell you how sweet that was. Again there is a prophetic declaration here for all who will hear it. The last thing I will say is that I really could not have cared less about the format. The chidren of God were gathering and I was there! Friends, we really need to get over ourselves and all this BS about churches, formats, styles and the endless tripe we puff ourselves up over. Like the song we sang that morning says," God loves people more than anything!!!" Maybe we should too.
During the nap I had before the service which started at 4pm I had a dream of having communion and thought perhaps it was a prophetic insight into what was awaiting us. When we didn't actually break bread I was going to dismiss it, but God said not to. Even before I could inquire why I shouldn't He said that this gathering of His body was communion. We shared the elements as we recieved the knowledge of our need. We remembered the breaking of the bread in the joy of the body of unity it won for us. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!! This is the great rallying cry. There is no blog big enough to contain all His praise when even all the heavens are merely His signature.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Wherever you go....there I AM

Usually we say that wherever you go there you are, but I realise that God says wherever you go there I AM. Sometimes it can be a little awkward though. Times when I am trying to hide from Him, for example, make His never leaving ways somewhat of a hinderance. This is not to say that I fault Him for it, rather I am glad for it because I know it is my flesh that drags me away and my spirit which yearns to return. I see it in my kids all the time. They will go ape and do things they full well know they shouldn't. When they hear my footsteps approach all the air that was rushing out of their lungs in joyous abandon is sucked right back in and they know the gig is up. At this point I am the last person they want to see and my eye is the last place they want to look. Yet after the discipline is done it is into my arms that they fall to be comforted. It is the gleam in my eye they search for that says they are the center of my attention. I cannot say that I understand this paradox, but I do know it to be true.
I am finding in this season of personal turmoil that Dad is speaking to me about being my Dad. The frustrating thing is that I do not know what this looks like. Mostly I stare out of my little cave at Him and pretend that everything is okay. This fear manifests in so many different ways that it would be impossible to catalog it, and any effort would just be a distraction from the real anyway. I do notice, though, that it is insecurity and fear that drives me away from people and ultimately from Dad. I have discovered that the abundant life He promised me is in other people. 'Huh' you say? That is right. The abundant life is in my kids and my wife and it pours over me when I serve and love them. It is in the people on the street when I smile at them rather than give them that same 'No, I won't look at you!' ignorant, eyes forward, indifference. It is in the people at work when I respect their opinions and ideas, cheer their triumphs as well as remember the small personal sadnesses they may feel safe to share. It is in living in this place that I find life. Yet the unfamiliarity of it all, and the sudden new situation that confronts me can shock me back into my cave. I find that this usually occurs when I feel the possibility of rejection. So then I come full circle and look into the eyes of the One who never leaves.
I hope this time I will have the courage to cry.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Well I hope it looks good

Yep, it better look good because being in a censored country has its drawbacks. I can post a blog, but I cannot view it. It is really quite strange after being here for awhile because when you get around the city a bit you realise just how 'uncommunist' it is. There is the same frothing at the mouth consumerism here as anywhere else on the planet and yet a blog may be viewed as subverisive in some way. It is probably a bit of a security blanket or placebo to give the sense of control when really all capitalist hell is breaking loose. When I walk the streets I still get the 'Look' from some people who refuse to crack a smile for a rich foreigner. At first it bothered me, because as we all (or at least some) know rich foreigner is not a term that easily attaches itself. In Canada we were struggling just to have $100 spare bucks in a month to buy a few extras and were living in subsidised housing. With this new job we are finally getting somewhere financially, but the overnight gain feels absurdly awkward most times. So now when these people look at me with the disdain that says I am the cause of the collapse of their glorious system, I respond inside that no, I am not the cause. The cancer is in the human soul, whether capitalist or communist. It is all shit and the human soul will feed on it to its manifest duress. Wherever you find a human, you find a soul capable of the most gruesome acts of cannibalism, whether spiritual or physical. We are never immune to the constant pull. We are dragged away by our own stuff. The only cure is to get near a force greater than our own lust and be dragged away by its gravity. Perhaps I should say His gravity.