Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I have to give a shout-out to both Deloitte (who had me travel so much during my years of working there that I earned ~120,000 points at the Holiday Inn hotels, or up to 12 free nights) and to Northwest Airlines, who provided Adam a returning one-way ticket for less than $70, without which this trip may not have been possible! Old Faithful & Thomas Jefferson, here we come!
It also bears noting that I am equally excited about the destination of the Twin Cities, where some of my dear friends await me. Carly, Dave, Luke, Joshua & I will all be reunited this summer (the former 3 and I working at camp once again), and I cannot wait for vicious rounds of Ui77, Carcassone, Brandy & Banter. I think we are being given a gift of time that I will be thankful for the rest of my life. Who knew we'd get that chance!?
All that said, yesterday's run to Gasworks, a familiar haunt of mine in this city of Seattle reminded me that I love this city, and that spending yet another summer away from it is bittersweet. It is a dear wish of mie that many summers to come will be spent here in this city in this corner of the world which has ultimately captured my heart.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Here's the thing. I am good at public accounting (here's me tooting my own horn..."TOOT!"). It comes easily, I enjoy the daily challenges of the job, I love the people I get to work with, and it pays really well. And I'm never going to go back to it unless God whacks me over the head and makes me. :) It is all of the above, and yet spending 60 hours a week determining whether other people are tracking their money correctly just does not bring me the same peace as I knew last year, trekking through Filipino villages to sing praises to the Lord, or as telling a Taiwanese high school girl about the freedom that comes in knowing Jesus Christ for the first time. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how short life on earth is. About how I really only get one crack at it, I have no idea how long my shot at life will be, and I don't get to decide if I die tomorrow or 60 years from now. So what DO I get to decide? TODAY!
And that's why instead of auditing benefit plans this summer, I am going to make my third journey across the Pacific Ocean and lead summer camps in Hong Kong and then in China with my teammate from last year Dave and a bunch of other camp-types. Its why I'm trading in pay checks to work for free to mentor & support college-aged kids who are deciding to spend a summer pouring out their time, energy, and emotions to campers. Its why in the fall, I'm going to go to seminary and spend a few years finding out more about God and people in relation to Him. Do I know that I want to be a paster - I have NO IDEA if I can hack it. I only know that regardless of what lies on the other side, learning more about who God is and about how to communicate that to people through words & actions can only enrich this time I have on earth.
So...good bye public accounting, and all the securities and creature comforts it brought. This next month of unemployment will actually be harder for me than you might expect as I try to remind myself that my worth is not based on productivity. And I will be fighting daily to remind myself of all the reasons I am not crazy (or at least, certifiably crazy) to be giving up a secure, good-paying job in the height of an economic recession to listen and obey the command to not worry about tomorrow but to store up treasure in Heaven instead of on Earth.
Below: My life for the next month - in drawings.
Summary of Maryann's Thoughts: She was basically questioning why Jesus had to die the way he did. Why God would choose such a death as necessary to His master plan. She also said a lot about how we are supposed to feel in church, but especially on Easter/Good Friday (which is tomorrow). Are we supposed to feel guilty for His death, and then super excited for his life? The roller coaster of emotions Easter Weekend tends to take us through I think sound a bit overwhelming and overused. I can't blame her. But I do think there are some answers out there (not necessarily perfect answers, but partial answers at least). Below is my feeble attempt to respond to her post with my own thoughts, largely that came to me this morning as I was thinking about the upcoming "holidays"...
Ok, so I was thinking about what you wrote this morning. I could never begin to have an answer to all your questions, but I have had some of the same ones. Here are just a few thoughts.
I think an "ultimate sacrifice" kind of death was used by God in Jesus at the time because it was what would make the most sense to the Jews and to those Gentiles who understood Jewish law. God originally laid down this law of sacrifice for sins to help Jews (and thereby the whole world) understand their own shortcomings, and come clean before their Creator, who desired better for them. When God confirmed that this law was no longer really accomplishing this goal, I think He knew it was time to fulfill the law. To come and complete what He began with Abraham and Moses.
In fulfilling the law through Jesus, He also showed us the ultimate type of love - a self-sacrificing servant love that provided the sacrifice-to-end-all-sacrifices by basically making himself the lamb... Not only does this show us how loved we are, and our importance to our Creator, but it also shows us how to love in return.
Good Friday should not be about us feeling guilty for making Christ die - no one made him die, or even asked him to, for our sins. The beauty is it is a FREE gift, like you said. I think I become sad when I realize that I have not mirrored the love he came to show in living out my own life. Day to day, I choose myself over others so often, that I ignore the way Jesus showed us love.
My favorite "good friday" song is When I Survey The Wondrous Cross (not the new version, but the old hymn version) because the last lines are "Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all." I cry every single time I sing that, because I know that I am still so far from giving all of that up to God. So...all that to say, Good Friday should not be a time for us to wallow in our sin that hung Jesus on a gruesome cross...but to experience once again the challenge Jesus gives us to live differently. To live sacrificially because its the ultimate way of communicating love, and of responding to the way he loves us.
And Easter? I think Easter is a time to celebrate Life. To celebrate that our collection of earthly experiences, our guest appearance on earth is not the end. That Christ promises us eternal life and showed us physically that this is not the end. It can get really depressing to think that of the millions of years Earth is here, we are here for a tiny fraction of it...we are but a breath. Yet, God says no...you matter more to me than a breath, you are made of stuff that is more lasting than that. I will one day call you home, where you will find your deepest longings fulfilled and your experiences from earth only magnified. Easter is a time to celebrate that we are more than just a passing wind, like Solomon laments in Ecclesiastes. That we, like Jesus, get to rise again. Because of a God who loves us more than we understand or deserve.
As far as emotions in church go, I don't think we should base our relationship with God on how we connect or don't connect emotionally in a given church service. I know my sister is a very emotional being, and that its probably impossible to separate her relationship with God from her emotions (and I don't know that she should), but it is dangerous to assume that because we do not feel the sadness of Good Friday or the joy of Easter, that our faith is slipping or somehow less than it should be.
Whether or not we like it, as grown, intellectual human beings, sometimes we get bogged down with the schematics of Holy Week ...the theologies of what what we are mourning & then celebrating. I think this can be both very important and very stifling in our faith journey. It can be much harder to have faith like a child when you are asking questions like "Why did God plan it this way?" or "Should I feel guilty that God sent Jesus to die on a cross when I never asked Him to and he's Omnipotent and I'm not, so He should have figured out a better way if it sucked so much for Jesus?" We can't ignore these questions once they arise...at the same time, we also must learn how to live with some mystery. If mystery wasn't involved, neither would faith be.
There is a song that says "There will be a day where there is no more hope and no more faith" (or something like that)...meaning, we will KNOW and therefore hope and faith will not be needed. Until then, to have faith, we can wrestle with these questions, we can come up with partial answers and theories, but the end of the day brings the same central question: Do you trust the God you claim to believe in? If the answer is yes, you may not understand why or how He did all of what He did, but you can TRUST that it was right, and that we can celebrate Him on Easter, and on Good Friday, and on every other day, because we still have faith that He is ultimately Good.
Thanks for letting me post your post :) I love you sis!