12 July 2016

Geography is part of our spiritual life and formation / Mission: To be where I am

"I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while. At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints... I will set out by way of you to Spain; and I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ."
    ~ Paul, writing to the Christians at Rome, of his plan to visit them; Romans 15:22-29

Every moment of this Christian life is lived out on the ground, in some physical place. Geography is as much a part of the spiritual life as theology. Our conditions, our present street address and where we expect to be next week, are the stuff of spiritual formation.
    ~ The Life With God Bible (NRSV) study notes on above Romans 15:22-29

Where you are,
what you do,
and who you are
is how God has anointed you.
    ~ Tatenda Chikwekwe (sermon at Karen Vineyard Church, Kenya)

Mission to be where I am.
Even in that ridiculous, deadly serious role -
I am the place where creation is working itself out.
    ~ Tomas Transtromer (1931-2015), The Outpost; Swedish poet and winner of Nobel Prize in literature

Sometimes life here (in a foreign country as a missionary) can get rather bleak. The poverty and hopelessness, the constant stares wherever we go and the challenges in adapting to a foreign culture threaten to overwhelm us. 

We ask, "What am I accomplishing here?"

Our efforts feel to us so small, so insignificant as to be almost laughable. And then God does something as if to say, "You're right. Your contribution is very small. But it's not your offering that makes the difference - it's what I do with it. Just trust me." 

As long as God keeps us here, we will trust him to take our pathetic little loaves and fishes, bless them, add his glory, and provide something really special for someone he has long known and long-planned to draw to himself.
   ~ Food from Ravens; Stories of God's Provision and Power through Prayer

Jan Garbarek - Mission: To Be Where I Am
(song title taken from poem excerpt above)

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