God truly is a God of surprises! I didn’t expect one of the last conversations here at the Trinity Theological College Canteen would impact me this much and give a beautiful transition before I get on the bus to go back home at 2pm.
“Angel” usually gives the picture of beings with wings. But, originally it conveys the meaning of a “messenger”. Sitting down with a pastor from the Philippines and just catching a glimpse of his heart – compassion for people & passion for Christ, the whole about 30-40 minutes together just nourished me as a human beyond words. We talked about relationships between Roman Catholics, Protestants & Evangelicals and how all this relates to Mission as Transformation. We wrestled with the whole need for repentance for our past as well as present sins.
He shared some stories that shook me to the core about what it means to be church in this time and age. The last story related to the ministry he was involved in that was reaching out to the prostitutes in their area. He was driving a van load of prostitutes to the chruch so they could celebrate Christmas with singing Christimas carols, etc. When they arrived he went to park the van while unloading the passengers so they could enter the church premises. As he was walking towards the entrance he overheard the conversation between the prostitutes which basically said this “Why are we here? what are we doing here? we are prostitutes, we are sinners. This is a holy place, we shouldn’t be here!” This broke my new found pastor friend’s heart (during a number of times in our talk I could see the tears in his eyes). There’s such a desperate need for us to work through what it means to be church today. And the starting point what the church means to others is already a challenging one to begin with.
Before we bid each other farewell, he initiated to pray for me. And this is the only time during this week I’ve been here that I was offered to be prayed personally. He held my right hand as he prayed. I felt truly touched by an angel – a messenger from God to me. It was a fitting post-conference “transition” for me to bring me down from all the “constructive reflection” I’ve been climbing around & “creative action” that I’ve been imagining to simply just “authentic living” with Christ’s mind, manner & mission as the life-giving core & spring to wash away stuff in me that breeds death & brokenness. I believe this was given to me as a “gift” through this Filipino brother. If the phrase “corporate transformation begins with personal transformation”, we need more and more of this kind of “touch” in our relationships here on earth. For now, I’m just thankful and full of gratitude for such grace, what a gift!