Friday, April 14, 2006

For once, a whole blog on one topic.

I should be writing my paper, but I need a rest. So if you need a break too, I say to you what I saw graven into these stairs on the ocean shore...

Rest a while, read about my life. I will tell you about my last class periods of the semester, because they have been especially rich. In my class about the missional role of the church in the world, our prof Darrell Johnson finished by bringing us up to the front in groups, according to our calling: those called to serve God’s kingdom by caring and advocating for the marginalized, then those who will serve God in the business world, doing jobs that are normally thought of as “secular”, then those who will be pastors, and missionaries and evangelists. We knelt down to be blessed, prayed for, and sent out. I felt empowered by this process – it’s so overwhelming to be recognized and prayed for as an integral part of God’s plan, no matter what your vocation.

In our last Hebrew class on Thursday, we received gifts of Hebrew Bibles from the Canadian Bible Society. I’m excited about reading over the summer. I need to be disciplined and keep up my Hebrew, because I think I want to take intermediate Hebrew next year. Actually, the Canadian Bible Society guy has got me dreaming about Bible translation. Before he spoke to our class, I pictured Bible translation as being sort of a desk job, where you sit in an office and pore over texts. But he talked about living with tribes, learning their language, figuring out how to write it, teaching them how to read their own language, and then translating… it seems like a very adventurous sort of job. I mean, you’d still have to sit at a desk sometimes and translate things, but it’s a much more dynamic process than I pictured, and involves lots of interaction with people.

I checked out the Wycliffe Bible Translators’ site, and there are 7000 languages in the world, with over 2500 yet to have a single verse of Scripture translated, representing 272 million people. That number surprised me, considering how many English translations we have. I guess having to read through the whole Bible this year has made me think a lot about it – how dependent our faith is on it, how incredible it is that it’s survived so many centuries, how this book was so cherished by the monks that they spent almost their whole lives copying it. I’ve also sort of fallen in love with it from spending so many hours trying to read one chapter in the original Hebrew.

I don’t think it was a mistake that my parents signed me up for French Immersion in kindergarten, igniting a love of languages in me. Argh. I don’t know. I'm frustrated. It feels like every day I have a new passion, a new idea of what, perhaps, God’s designed me to do. Just last week I was passionate about working in field biology, banding and observing birds with A Rocha, working for conservation. Now I want to go off to some tribe and translate the Bible into their language. I befuddle myself. My prayer right now is that either God will strengthen the passions He most wants me to focus on, or that He’ll give me some sort of avenue whereby I can combine them all. Who knows… maybe there is some sort of job where I can live with a people group, studying their language for translation, teaching them better care of the earth at the same time. Or… perhaps I’ll end up translating the Bible into bird song. Ha. I guess I should be happy I have too many passions, instead of none at all.

But to tell you the absolute truth, at the deepest level, I’m not that worried. God’s led me this far, and I’m more confident now that His purpose is good. Some of this trust in God is an illusion – I think a lot of the time I’m really trusting in my own ability to control and direct my life, which is completely bogus. I know I operate this way, because when it comes to something I really have no control over, like, say, the life direction of my best friend - I find it much harder to trust God. I get a lot angrier with Him when He doesn’t seem to be doing anything for her; she’s much more trusting. Oh me of little faith.

I guess where I’m at right now is… I’m pretty sure my vocation right now is to be a student. I’ve learned that “being in the center of God’s will” means being joined with Christ, since He was at the center of His Father’s will. So my job is to study and push deeper roots into my relationship with God. And to learn how to trust Him. That’s probably why He’s not laying out the whole plan of my life right now – He wants me to learn this. And not to take myself too seriously. Heck, my dad was an engineer and He became a pastor. I have to keep telling myself that it’s all about the journey, and God’s in charge, and He can use even my mistakes, and if I knew all the answers I wouldn’t need Him or anyone else.

Well, I’d better get back to my paper. Pray for me, for my three exams next week. I’ll write later and tell you how all of it went. In case any of you don’t know, Christine is coming here to the Couv on the 22nd, and I’ll be flying home to Saskatoon with her on Tuesday the 25th, to work at the Quest this summer. Man, I miss you guys. I missed Emmanuel’s Good Friday service today. The one I went to today was good, but it was a little too Easter-anticipating for me. I missed the creativity and depth of thought, and the power of symbols and atmosphere in Emmanuel’s service. I always left with the cross burned into my consciousness in a new way, without having to rush into happy Easter feelings. Do you know what I mean?

P.S. If you were reading this hoping for something more light-hearted, I heartily suggest you visit one of the funniest sites I've seen in a while: "Not only can we date hot guys (as only hot Christian girls could do), but hopefully we can lead them to God and help them get saved them from the burning fires of Hell."

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