I think it’s 5:15 a.m. but I’m not sure because my electronic devices both inexplicably say 6:49. Barking dogs and a bird with a screech between a rooster and a peacock woke me before the alarm. We arrived around midnight, greeted at the airport by a crowd of friends from Myanmar Institute of Theology plus John Gravley of Central, who had arrived earlier in the day. They unfurled a “Welcome Central Baptist Seminary” banner, grabbed all the luggage, and put us into cars for the 5 minute drive to Myanmar Life Hotel.
It’s a gracious place – rooms are large and furnished with ornately carved wooden chairs, the wooden floor is cool on bare feet and packets of Nescafe instant coffee, heavy on sweetener and powdered cream are arranged on a tray.
Our gracious MIT hosts pick us up at 6:45 this morning for a lecture at the school on Buddhist meditation followed by a visit to a monastery and the golden centerpiece of the city, Shwe Dagone Pagoda. At the end of each day, we’ll gather for theological and other reflection on the day asking, Where did we encounter God? and What am I learning about God’s kingdom and purpose for the world?
My joy is to see followers of Christ actively engaged in using their gifts, and blazing trails in effectively reaching the world with the transforming power of the gospel. As a servant leader of Christ’s church, I want to do for others what my leaders and mentors did for me: facilitate that transformational connection between life on the ground and scripture/theology.
I see the Christian faith as a journey, a way of life. Many people can affirm that “church” is the people, not the building, but were that to become a reality in how we actually function, the church would be transformed. I’m fond of using the designation “follower of Christ.” As I read the gospels, the essence of the call of Jesus is action: going, sending, doing.