I have been in Korea for about 4 days. I leave in a day and a half.
Initially Adam, my friend who invited me, was asked to teach at both a YWAM Discipleship Training School and a series of meetings for a network of influential leaders (influential in Kingdom terms, that is). Unfortunately the latter opportunity didn’t work out because of scheduling conflicts.
It has been a fun week, nonetheless. We have prayed for all the students and school staff. The Holy Spirit has given us encouraging words to share with each person and it’s amazing to see how well the Lord knows his children. It’s equally amazing to see how much the Spirit wants to speak to us in order to bless others.
Personally, the week has been a good transition to help curb the jet-lag I’d normally experience in India. India is the exact opposite timezone from the US West Coast. Now I’ll only have a four-hour difference to overcome when I arrive in Calcutta this weekend.
I’ve also been blessed to partner with my friend Adam. We are about two months apart in age, but while I spent my twenties learning about community development, studying deep theology, and discovering God’s heart for community; Adam pursued the gift of prophecy – as the scriptures encourage (1 Corinthians 14:1-5) – among other things. And it has payed off well. He is, as Paul promised almost two millennia ago, able to build up the church in a very palpable, helpful way. I’m learning the value of the prophetic gifting more and more in my life and I’m learning much through Adam’s life and teaching (the subject also happens to be what he’s teaching on this week).
Albeit, I’d wager the biggest source of encouragement this week has been worshipping and living life with my ethnically-diverse brothers and sisters in Jesus. A surprising feeling has come over me as I sing sincere praises to God in a room full of others doing the same thing but in different languages. Same melody, same meaning – different syllables.
For all the talk about diversity my socially-conscious white friends speak of back home, when I come into a culturally diverse room full of people who are genuinely loving each other – not merely tolerating one another – I realize I haven’t actually experienced true diversity in my life for a few years.
This experience confirms what I’ve known in my heart from the beginning: theories about diversity, or mere laws forcing others to accept others, aren’t enough. Jesus showed us the powerlessness of the law to change our hearts way before democracy was mainstream or we Westerners were obsessed with individual liberties. It doesn’t matter how the laws are made, nor what their purpose is. Law is not enough.
And just staying out of each other’s way falls far short of what God’s dream for humanity is. The apex of Western morality, minus the influence of the Gospel, seems to be summed up in maximizing each person’s ability to do whatever she or he wants. Can’t we do better than that? That world is a consumer paradise, but a human desert. We were made for more.
As I sing with my Korean, Malaysian, Singaporean, and British friends this week; as we live a little bit of life and they teach me about their home cultures; as we listen to and lean on one another; God is present and He is giving me a foretaste of His masterpiece to come.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9–12