The City No Longer Forsaken

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." ~Isaiah 62:12

Monday, November 17, 2008

Transitional times come again

These past few weeks, I have observed that I am in all out Transitional State of Being. But it feels different from how it's ever felt before. Usually, to be in transition is to be in mourning. Usually, my mind is flipping through morbid thoughts like, "This is the seventh to last time I'll be doing this." But I haven't found myself filled with dread at all. My reaction has been more along the lines of falling in and out of love with every vision, person, and opportunity that comes my way. The whole world feels like it is charged with potential.

I'm watching all the prayer things happening in Tokyo with this kind of joyful confusion. Well...joyful confusion is kind of my normal state anyway. Joy because it is witnessing what I have watched and prayed for. Joy in knowing that, even if my prayers were the tiniest part in this coming about, part of the wall we are building in Tokyo has been constructed by my hands. Confusion because...I hardly feel part of it now. But at the same time, different groups come up to me and say, "We hope we can count on you to help with this!" and yet I still must pray for and encourage them to reach out to each other. To me this is another 2+2...if multiple people are called to raise up a house of prayer, they are automatically a team. Especially if one of them has a house and the other does not. We shall see how God brings all of it about, though.

On the homefront, I listened to my parents talk about things happening in Lander. It is exciting stuff. A few Sundays ago they had a special service where they pulled all the pews and opened up stations for worship, art, intercession, confession, healing, and maybe other things. The line for healing was so long that the service went almost two hours. There were so many people in the confession line that they had to reallocate people to help out there. So, good stuff.

In the meantime, my dad has done a lot of work with setting up a "One Stop Center" in Lander. It is designed to be a place where the poor can come and get spiritually based support. The Center should ideally be connected to churches and aid organizations throughout the town and be able to refer people to the appropriate organization. It's a little ironic, because the center has always struggled with money. They were recently given a large amount of money, but they are struggling now with staffing and vision.

When the One Stop Center opened my senior year of college, I was so jealous that it was opening several months before I graduated, because I would have gone back home and taken that job in a heartbeat. But the timing was never right, and then God called me to Japan.

And I find myself asking my dad today, "Can you hold it open until April when I get back?"

In my mind there is this fully formed vision. Is it part of the One Stop Center in Lander? Is it part of one of these prayer rooms in Tokyo? Is it something completely new? Is it with friends I already have? Will it be with people I have yet to meet? It's like I have the what and the why but the who, when, and where are completely missing.

But this is what I know...with all my heart I long to have a house that is a safe place. Not for a family, though I might have a family and they might be part of it too. And not as a pastor of a church, though I hope many churches will be involved. It will be a house of prayer. It will be a house where people can stop in to talk at any time. It will be a place where the poor are welcomed and transformed. I have had this vision in some way, shape or form since I was in preschool. And so, ministry sometimes feels like's like I'm running from ministry to ministry and person to person asking, "Is this the place? Are you the people?"

And so, over and over again, I get pulled into these ministries that are close...but then so confused when they don't come together like what I am looking for. Other dreamers are sometimes the most painful because they'll come alongside and dream, but won't fully commit to it.

Transition times always bring the vision out more fully because I feel myself tempted by so many options...there are so many places that I imagine could be transformed into this place I've always carried in my heart. Sometimes I feel like I see it everywhere. Maybe the potential really is everywhere, and it's waiting for me to be ready rather than the environment to be right. I don't know. But these days, I feel like a walking contradiction so much of the time...falling in and out of love, in and out of excitement, in and out of even feeling like I'm part of a group. I'm afraid to reach out because there is a strong chance that 24 hours later my heart will be cold about the very thing it was ablaze about. And so, I wait.

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