April 7, 2016

Easter Monday. On the lawn of the White House it is a grand celebration. At churches across the land it is a day of catching one’s breath, a day of remembering the glory of Easter Sunday, a day of giving thanks for everyone who played a role in the multi-layered experience that is Lent, Holy Week and Easter and a day of realizing that more than a few things have been put off until after Easter and that it is time to pay attention to those things.

However, before I launch into the “After Easter” list I want to pause and think of the meaning I found in all that has transpired at LABC since Ash Wednesday – services, studies, meals, celebrations, commemorations, conversations, meetings and meditations. I also want to enjoy the leftover sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf that I put in the office refrigerator after yesterday’s Post-Sunrise Service Breakfast. If you are thinking “I didn’t see that breakfast on the church calendar” you are correct. It was an unexpected joy.

In the middle of last week Pastor Naw San of the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church that worships at LABC on Sunday evenings sent me an email about several matters including his hope that some of the members of his congregation could join in our Sunrise Service. Of course, I said that would be wonderful. Thus, on Sunday a good number of our Kachin partners not only joined us for worship but brought one of their traditions with them, an Easter Breakfast consisting of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves and a little brown sugar to put on top. Naw San explained to me that Easter Sunrise Services followed by breakfast are an important part of their religious heritage and that they were happy to share that heritage with us.

So, it is Easter Monday and as I try not to get sticky rice all over my laptop I sit at my desk, eating, typing and giving thanks for our increasingly valuable relationship with the SFKBC. We have much to offer that congregation. We also have much to receive – not only sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves but an understanding of what it means to be a persecuted people, an appreciation of how to honor one’s faith when you are a stranger in a strange land, and a living commitment to the Baptist tradition of international mission.

I look forward to many things as we journey now toward Pentecost. I worry about a few things as well. However, in this moment, I am enjoying a simple breakfast, appreciating the hands that made it and giving thanks that we can share the journey of faith with our Kachin friends.

Peace,

Jim H.

P.S. The theme Scripture for the SFKBC this year is Galatians 6:10 – “So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” Let us commit to living this text out in our life together.