It's a day in which God's hand is obvious - the afternoon flood is off our radar when we have the morning study at 10. Our group is working through Philippians 3, talking about the rituals we attach to the simple Good News about Jesus.
No wonder people are confused - do Christians have to dress a certain way (which usually translates to 1940s or 1950s American costume), eat or not eat certain things, and "do church" a particular way? Not according to scripture - which asks us to eat, drink, dress, and otherwise behave in alignment with God's character of love and goodness. That's pretty open to cultural interpretation.
We talk about adult water baptism, which is the outward sign of our inner transformation. "Buried with Christ, raised to new life," is how one of our former pastors put it. We believe and are baptized as a confession of our allegiance to - and identification with - Jesus. In many global communities, you can "believe anything," but with baptism, you declare your faith.
It starts to rain. To pour. I am soaked, running the 2 meters (6+ feet) from car door to school entry. My teacher dashes out with an umbrella, catching me in the last steps before the door.
The street we drove in on is a catch-basin for the storm in the hills above the city. While I study, the waters rise, cars are swept away, and homes and businesses are flooded. There is no environmental mitigation for new construction so there is limited ground to absorb water. Water churns up to 1.6 meters (5') high on the road we took to language school.
What I don't find out until evening is that the street we're driving on has channeled the deluge from the mountains down the hill. It has carried the plastic bags, paper, and other garbage into the city.
The street-river has also swept a boy to his death ... from the entry parking lot entry at our regular grocery store. (We unknowingly drove by that driveway 20 minutes later, as the rain was subsiding and the walls of water had receded.) We pray for his family and friends when we hear.
|Normally, this is a safe place. Not today.|
Tuesday. I'm at an online meeting at 6:30am. No problem: I went to bed early and am wide awake at 4.
I cast my first ballot for the American government. It's technically an online vote, which only means I can fill out the ballot online. I still have to print it out and mail it. So who knows if my vote will count - with the mail systems, anything could happen. I'll have to get it to the post office tomorrow.
|Lush rice fields edge the neighborhoods of Bandung|
That means that every 2 years, new "VOTE FOR ME" signs appear along the streets (visual and actual clutter), with $millions spent on political advertising. People give countless volunteer hours where they could do good in their community. Plus this year, who-knows-how-much-time-has-been-diverted-from-work by the President to promote his choice. (Unbelievable process, from a Canadian POV. We're accustomed to 6 weeks - from announcement to election - of our Prime Minister every 4-5 years.)
As usual, the organizers start to arrange our Thursday walk via WhatsApp, our messaging app. We're hoping the rain doesn't catch us in the hills this week.
*See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. Isaiah 42:9 ESV
*The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to (Jesus). He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the LORD's favor has come." ...
Then he began to speak to them. "The Scripture you've just heard has been fulfilled this very day!" Luke 2:17-21 NLT
*The mystery from which true godliness springs is great: he appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 NIV
Moravian Prayer: Lord, we believe that you are excited to share your wonders with us, so that we, together, may marvel at your infinite power and the beauty of your hands. Help us to believe the unbelievable and to not be ashamed to be perceived as fools. Amen.