Yes, hope remains. Despite fires and smoke, extremely hazardous air quality, several days of evacuation orders: hope remains.
All the above add stress to the already stressful pandemic. Yet, hope remains.
One bit of good news, the Portland protests and riots took a break during the smoke and poor air quality. One less level of stress. Hope remains.
As we sat in our home, we talked a lot about preparedness when threatened by a natural disaster. What one thing would you take? It’s hard to say. You might not have time to remember what that thing is and then pick it up and go. But we did start a list of what we’d need to take with us. Continue reading “Hope Remains”→
Palm Sunday, this last Sunday, is a time for reflection on Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday also marks the beginning of Holy Week and the last days of the Lenten Season. We are now approaching the end of Holy Week and our arrival at Easter Sunday.
During Lent, our congregation celebrates the Last Supper or Communion every Sunday. Our usual tradition is to partake of Communion the second Sunday of each month. Some traditions practice Communion every Sunday all year, others once a month, some every other month. There are as many and varied ways of honoring this symbolic sharing of Christ’s Last Supper as there are denominations and modes of faith practices.
For me, the most important part of Communion is the remembering …
… remembering why God gave His only Son in this way
… remembering why Christ died on the cross and shed His blood
… remembering why we symbolically partake of Christ’s body and blood
… remembering what I am giving in exchange for the life I have been given
… remembering I am to spread His Word abroad
… and I am hopeful you can add to this list.
It was not for nothing that God chose to give up His only Son.God was giving us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through His Son’s death and resurrection. Truthfully, I have only one child, a son, and despite how often he irritates me, I cannot imagine giving him up and watching him die.
It was not for nothing that Christ died on the cross shedding His blood for you and me. His precious blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life in Him as long as we confess our sins and walk with Him.
It is not for nothing that we symbolically partake of Christ’s body and blood. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (CEB), Paul relates the Last Supper with Jesus’ disciples:
… He took some bread in his hands. Then after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this and remember me.”
After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, “This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you. Drink this and remember me.”
We partake because Jesus instructed us to do so to remember Him.
And what am I giving in exchange for this life I have been given? I am to give myself wholly to a walk of Christian faith, to witness and live so that others may see Jesus in me.
And am I spreading His Word abroad? I try, I honestly try. Wherever I go, I want to let others know I believe, that I am a Christian, and so I carefully think about my words and my actions wanting to show the best He has given me. Abroad is a hard one to manage living as I do in the U.S. and rarely travelling outside the state of Oregon. But with this blog and in connecting with others, I do pray it happens.
Most importantly out of all these things, I believe it is the instruction to “remember me” that we are called to bear witness to.
Required to remember so many things in this busy world–business appointments, doctors’ appointments, kids’ after school activities, where to be when, where you put your keys or cell phone and more–we often forget to remember Him in the middle of our daily activities. But it is what we are to do.
The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is considered by many religions to be Holy Week. During this week, many observers re-enact, duplicate, or otherwise repeat some of the acts of Jesus between the of his entrance into Jerusalem and his crucifixion and resurrection. It is this journey we draw close to during Holy Week.
Remembering the path he walked … and why.
And as we approach this holy time near the end of Lent, are you remembering? Are you able to add to my list above?
Before beginning this book review, I want to point out that my scheduling of this book for review was well in place before the Executive Order signed on Friday, January 27, 2017, went into effect. However, Divine Providence likely knew of the events to come, and as D.L. Mayfield’s memoir shares the author’s experiences working with and living among refugees and immigrants in my hometown, Portland, Oregon, it is definitely a good time to look at what Mayfield’s thoughts and reactions are to her experiences. AND this is a good time for all of us to begin to search for ways to help the marginalized among us, no matter who received your vote in November. We are needed now more than ever before to stand up and share the goodness and generosity that made America great in the first place.
A social justice activist and writer shares her personal experience working with refugees and the ways her faith has been challenged and strengthened—leading her to experience the power of God’s love and find her true spiritual calling.
Determined to save the world, one soul at a time, nineteen-year-old D. L. Mayfield left her conservative Christian home to become a missionary to Somali Bantu refugees in Portland, Oregon. But after a decade proselytizing, she realized that she had not converted one single Muslim. “I am pretty much the worst missionary ever,” she despaired.
Yet in her time working with these displaced people, Mayfield’s eyes were opened to something much bigger. “I started to read the Scriptures with new eyes, informed by the people who the Bible was written by and to—the people at the margins of society. And it was so much better than I could have believed. The blessings of Jesus were to be found in the most unexpected places. The kingdom is real, alive, and changing everything—liberating, setting free, healing, and preaching news that is actually truly good, in the here and now.”
Assimilate or Go Home is the story of her awakening. Mayfield shows us how God’s love is transforming lives, and makes clear that instead of saving the world, we can join God’s party by loving all of our neighbors—especially those on society’s edge. With vulnerability and a touch of humor, Mayfield reflects upon how her faith was challenged, and urges all of us to reconsider our concepts of justice, love, and being a citizen of this world—and the kingdom of God.
Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith by D.L. Mayfield Published: Harper One (August 16, 2016) Source: Purchased Format: Paperback, 224 pages
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“I used to want to witness to people, to tell them the story of God in digestible pieces, to win them over to my side. But more and more I am hearing the still small voice calling me to be the witness. To live in proximity to pain and suffering and injustice instead of high-tailing it to a more calm and isolated life. To live with eyes wide open on the edges of our world, the margins of our society.”
The quote above sums up what D.L. Mayfield shares with her readers in a collection of essays on her life as a missionary serving refugees and immigrants in Portland, Oregon. Mayfield’s experiences are many and at times stun her into wondering why she is doing what she is doing.
Mayfield struggles to communicate with non-English speaking people, and she herself does not speak any of their languages. How do you help those who don’t understand you when you ask if they are hungry, or thirsty, or feeling sick? How do you cope with the feelings of uselessness you feel when you can’t understand these people or treat their needs.
All of these things are the subject of Mayfield’s memoir which explores her feelings of failure and inability to do what she has believed to be the work of missionaries since her childhood.
Mayfield’s writing is pleasant and at times lyrical in her storytelling. Some of her essays even hold a bit of humor and charm in them. However, the underlying facts are brutal to those of us who have never experienced extreme hunger, health needs, or poverty. I think the harshness of these needs also struck Mayfield harder than she ever expected.
The transformation Mayfield experiences during her time serving the Somalis in Portland is clearly one she found filled with an increased faith of her own. Her wisdom is ancient, found in the daily grind of life, and shared as the way she lives her days.
Mayfield teaches us that the benefit of working with those less fortunate is actually a two-way partnership. What she learned from her Somali neighbors and friends was a story of resilience and courage. What they learned from Mayfield was acceptance and kindness. What a lovely story in the end; what a difficulty journey to get there.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who believed as a young person you were going out and change the world. Read Mayfield’s Assimilate or Go Home and you’ll learn just how hard it is to do that. And she’ll show you just how much you’ll be the one doing the changing.
About the Author:
D. L. Mayfield lives and writes in Portland, OR with her husband and two small children. Mayfield likes to write about refugees, theology, and downward mobility, among other topics. She has written for places as varied as McSweeneys, Christianity Today, Image journal, and the Toast. Her book of essays, Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith is forthcoming from HarperOne in August 2016.