Monday, March 23, 2009

Lent 4

Sunday night at Christ Temple (up the mountain at Tao Fung Shan)

The preacher is Chinese, from Hong Kong. Her face radiates love as she tells about the circle of poor women she tutors, who struggle to learn... not to "get ahead" for themselves, but to be able to help their own children with their homework. So that their children might live a better life. "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works," (Ephesians 2:10) we hear from St. Paul, and in Josephine's gentle sermon, we can see how this is true.

Next to me, a man who left his own family and his own country so that he can study to become a more effective pastor, counselor, community leader. In his home country the government claims that to follow Christ means disloyalty to your culture and nation. He doesn't know what awaits him when he returns, but he will return. He walks "by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Next to him is the researcher from Mainland China, who seems to still be glistening from his baptism, here in this sanctuary, a few weeks ago. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope... one Lord, one faith, one baptism..." (Ephesians 4:4-5)

Across the room is a tiny Swedish woman, an impossibly young pastor, with intense eyes. She sings with gusto and beauty. Speaking with her afterwards, she has a way of peering up at you when you speak, you have the feeling she hangs on every word. She explains to me how she counsels Swedish expatriates living in Hong Kong, via conversations on Skype. "Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you." (Ephesians 3:2)

We sing without accompaniment, the sound is full-throated.

Tonight's Eucharistic bread is dark, fortified with either molasses or squid ink :)

I leave church well-fed.

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