It was beautiful outside this morning as the sun was rising on our first snowfall of the year.
Yesterday morning I was in a classroom in Orlando, singing a Christmas carol in the Mizo language, being led by my professor, who is Mizo and was using a trash can for a drum. Twelve hours later I was sitting at my computer on a cold snowy night on a farm in Southern Virginia thinking about kingdom, church and world.
There is a lot swimming around in my head right now because of that class–narrative theology, postmodernism, postcolonialism, ethnocentricism, and a bunch of other isms and ologies. I made some friends and learned some things. My small group brought together folks from the South and the North, the Caribbean and Africa, men and women, black, white and Hispanic, young and not-so-young. We shared stories of how our lives had intersected with success and failure, addiction and redemption, war and disease.
I’m still processing much of what I learned from the class and my classmates. But what stands out most to me right now is the clear realization that God is at work in the world. The whole world. And if we are to be part of the kingdom of God, then we must free ourselves from the cage of tribalism and the cultural arrogance and ignorance that comes with it.
Yet we have a physical place in this world, to which I believe we should root in a profound way.
What of smallness and particularity? From something small and particular can come something grand and universal.
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
Plenty to ponder.