Hello people!!!! I’m Riis, Manny’s best friend, or best-looking friend; I’m fine with both. I’m currently studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia and I thought it would be a great time to jump into the blogging business and check in with all you beautiful people.
I have the privilege of living with a cool old Australian lady named Ursula. She rents out the rooms in her home every semester to students at the near by university. The first day I met Ursula she told me a story about a Korean student and a Chinese student that she housed a while back that made me think a quite a bit.
It doesn’t rain much here in Brisbane, but one night while the two students were living with Ursula there was a huge rainstorm. Thunder, lightning, winds, heavy rain…the whole nine yards. The next morning the Korean student expressed how frightened she was the by the storm. Ursula told me that she wondered why the Korean student was so frightened by the storm; surely at some point in her life she had seen and heard a storm like that…right? Shortly after the Chinese student explained to Ursula why the Korean student was so frightened. It turns out that she was not frightened by the wind, or the rain, by the thunder, or even the lightening…she was frightened by the sound of raindrops on the roof. For you or me the sound of raindrops on the roof seems like a forgone conclusion during rainstorm…that’s just what happens. We have all heard the noise, we may not hear it frequently but surely it’s a familiar sound…right?
For this Korean student whose whole life has been spent living in high-rise apartments in metropolitan Korea the sound of raindrops on the roof is not familiar, nor is calming, or even a foregone conclusion during a rainstorm…it’s frightening. When we think of someone’s immersion into a foreign culture we tend to focus on things like the language barrier, behavior, or cuisine. Seldom do we focus on the subtle differences between cultures that can make a world of difference when it comes comfort and understanding.
This little story had such a huge impact on me because… well…I’m in love with the Church (not your first guess?). I absolutely love the Church. I’m not talking about the building on Sundays that some of us go to where we talk and act funny, where we perform a whole bunch of rituals, and hear a bunch of things that don’t have any effect on our lives (and most importantly don’t have anything to do with Jesus). I’m talking about the radiant bride of Christ, the conduit through which the world will know and experience the amazing, transforming love of God. That’s the Church I love deeply, and because I love Jesus and his Church, I love the lost.
I think we often underestimate how much of a cultural collision occurs when someone steps foot into a Church. I’m sure we fully understand that a Church service or gathering may be new, different, or possibly even strange to someone who has never been in that environment, but have we ever considered the possibility that an experience at a church could be frightening? If your like me this idea is extremely frustrating because there is no possible way for us to know what type of experiences people bring into Church when the step through the doors. The probability of someone walking into a Church and being offended, uncomfortable, or frightened is quite high. So where does this leaves us?
I think being a follower of Jesus is such a privilege because we are entitled to so many invaluable nuggets of truth that help us navigate through life. In this case we don’t have to have all the answers…all I have do is receive and reflect. We are promised a perfect love that drives out all fear. For our sake, and for the lives of those around us we should prioritize saturating every area of our life with the perfect, transforming, and comforting love of Christ. Trusting that people will ultimately see his perfect love working in and through us. Surely his love is bright enough to outshine anything that may distract, offend, or frighten anyone when they walk into a Church. So I encourage you… RECEIVE his love… REFLECT his love so that you can truly be a child of God “without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”(Philippians 2:14).
Love, Life, Christ