Monday, August 07, 2006

Ugly Duckling

This past Sunday we were in the mood for something a little bit different. We decided to drive an hour and a half away to a city just outside of Leeds and attend an Abundant Life Church. This church has it going on! They are so with contemporary society and culture here, and so with the times... yet sadly they're an anomaly amongst churches in England. Hey, but I'm praising the Lord they exist in this country and I only hope the Vineyard continues to pursue cultural relativity, as well as our new church plant. Martin Smith, the lead guy in the Christian band Delirious, was there and he played a worship song for us, "Lord, You have my heart." It was the first worship song he ever wrote, and he said he sings it every day still. It's the prayer of his heart. It was touching to have him play it for us, and to be able to meditate to it as he played. It was my first time even seeing Martin (we're already on a first-name basis), so I was excited. The pastor had a great sermon as well. The topic was 'Identity.' Where do we find our identity? In our career? Our money? Our looks? Our friends? Our family? I had been struggling with an identity crises for a while, so the sermon struck chords in my heart. Though knowing my identity should be in Christ, as His child, etc etc, I slipped into finding my identity in my job and my friends and my education. Then England came, with no job, no friends, and no education. Who am I??? I asked. He told the old story of The Ugly Duckling, how the little 'duck' found his identity in his nest, but couldn't reconcile his differences with the other ducks, and so decided that he must not be very good. You all know the story... he was actually a swan! It was only when he was drawn into the still water to follow some unforseen force drawing him to some beautiful creatures that he was able to see his reflection, to see himself for who he truly was. The pastor said we're all drawn to others that are like ourselves... spiritually, and it's important that we find them. He said even as Christians, we're not all going to be alike (which we all know but it's nice to hear it from a pastor). We need to find and worship with our soul-mates, basically.

I was encouraged on the identity side of things. My job slinging espresso and nervously awaiting substitute/supply teaching calls in the morning does not define who I am. I am an instrument of the most high God! I was also somewhat discouraged though... I've known all along the importance of Christian community. I've longed for it especially since I've been to England... so has Mark. The pastor confirmed our need to be around other Christians like ourselves, yet we ask, "Where are they?" We continue to hope and pray we will connect with people in the church plant. In the end however, this world is not our nest, it is not our home. Our home is in heaven and there reside our soul-mates who have gone before us. We will one day be with our true family. That's something to be excited about! It's a reason for me to hold my head up.