Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hands and Feet

"I'll try to touch the world like You've touched my life,
And I'll find my way to be Your hands..." 

I love the idea of serving others by being the hands and feet of Jesus to them. But it's quite a challenge to be the "hands and feet of Jesus" when my own hands and feet are weak and pretty useless. I can't cook food for others, I can't pick up a crying baby, I can't drive to someone's house to visit them. In fact, I depend on other people to be my hands and feet so much that I wonder if they are in fact the hands and feet of Jesus by proxy...? No, I don't wonder... I know it's true. When my friends help me help others, they are partners with me in the gospel... they are serving Jesus. And that is a really incredible thing!

But what about me? How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus? What can He possibly do through these feet that can't bear weight, or these hands that can't open a bottle of water? Well, just this week, Jo-Lien has used my feet on their footplates as a little stool to sit on... And little Moi-San is getting strong enough to pull himself up on my legs into a standing position as tall as my knees, and he reaches out to hold my hands for balance. It blows my mind that my useless legs and fragile hands can provide stability and confidence for a little one... that my feet can be transformed into a place of comfort and rest... is that a glimpse of Jesus?

I know that the "hands and feet of Jesus" is not necessarily literal... I know it just means that wherever I go, whatever I do, I want to do it for Jesus and the way Jesus would do it. He can use my wheelchair to get me where he wants me to be. He can use my voice to speak truth and good news and encouragement. He can use my mind and gift/training of teaching to instruct and guide and express his love and wisdom, and share his story. He can even use my weak hands and legs and feet as a testimony of his faithfulness to me, his strength in the midst of my weakness.... His grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness.

But it is amazing when he chooses to really use my hands and feet in small ways to serve and love in Jesus' name. It reminds me that my weak muscles are not useless and indispensable to Him. He rejoices to use even me to his glory. He rejoices to use even you. How will He use you to be his hands and feet today?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

He Reigns

"Let it rise about the four winds, Caught up in the heavenly sound,
Let praises echo from the towers of cathedrals, To the faithful gathered underground..."

"Hola, Teacher Coh-nee!" I turn the corner at church this morning onto what I call "International Hall," a hallway of Sunday school classrooms which, at 10:30am every Sunday, is lined on both sides with people from 20+ different countries. Pastor Meng Pu of Burma shakes my hand with his million-dollar face-wrinkling smile, Margarita of Ecuador kisses both of my cheeks in greeting, Marta envelops me in a warm and colorful hug in her traditional Congolese robe, and Jose of Mexico gives me a thumbs-up and says, "You ready to teach? I am ready to learn!"

This is one of my favorite moments of my week. It makes me convinced that I must always be involved in a multicultural church... I want to always see people together who look and act and talk differently but who have the same love for Jesus. I think it's the way we're meant to be as Christians. And when I'm in the thick of it I just have to smile.

I remember sitting in wonder and awe at the 2003 InterVarsity Urbana Mission Conference, where I was surrounded by 20,000 other Christian students from all corners of the world. I loved playing "Where in the world?" every time I was on an elevator, in a bus, or at a lunch table. I loved watching the different ways people worshipped - hands raised, heads bowed, feet dancing, eyes closed. I loved listening to the sound of 20,000 voices singing worship songs in different languages. I loved hearing the stories about how God was at work in so many different villages and cities and countries. I loved realizing that my life is only one small colorful tile in the brilliant mosaic of God's global Church.

Stories about the Church fill me up - stories of martyrs and persecution break my heart, while stories of growth and miracles give me joy... and often these stories are intertwined. I'm humbled when I hear that pastors in prison do not ask us to pray for their release, but that the gospel will be made known where they are. I'm inspired when I read how trials and danger strengthen the Church and compel it to become even more bold in its faith. God's people are shaking salt, shining light, and sowing seeds everywhere.

It's exciting to be made more aware of this truth when I roll down International Hall, when I see the Hispanic church gathering at 9:00, when I hear the Chin Zo church sing, when I smell the weekly lunches the Chinese church eat together... it's exciting to know that when I sing worship songs to my Jesus I am one voice in the choir of international saints singing together with our lives: "Glory! Hallelujah! He reigns!"