Friday, January 27, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
In the Letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul talks of the dilemma of the human condition. If indeed we believe that we are saved by the grace of God and made members of the family of God, then Paul suggests in Romans 12:1-2 (NRSV) that our need is for transformation: “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Having been controlled by worldly norms and values (like selfishness, greed and hostility) that are contrary to God’s purposes, we need to be transformed so that our lives are shaped by the culture and values of the new family to which we belong.
I’d like to introduce you to a young man who is experiencing the kind of transformation that Paul invites us to embrace. His name is David Borbely. David, a current participant in our Colorado Springs Service Adventure unit, is a 19-year-old from Siegburg, Germany. He is interested in astrophysics, and in his free time he enjoys coding, and, now and then, teaches his fellow participants about nuclear fission. Next year, David plans to go to university to pursue his interests. In a traditional career path that will evolve if he follows these interests, it is easy to imagine that he will spend endless solitary hours in a lab somewhere engaged in research with sparse human engagement. It is equally easy to imagine that for David things will be different. In his Service Adventure assignment, David currently works at the Westside Community Preschool with kids from 3 to 5 years old. In his daily routines he is a constant presence in the lives of these children, doing jobs like cleaning and even a little bit of teaching. David reports that he really appreciates his work “not only because it’s a really great place with nice staff, but also because I get the chance to be part of the kids’ education and can share God’s love with them on a daily basis.” In reflecting on his choice to spend a year in service, he offers that he decided to do this “because I want to experience God in a way I can’t do at home.” Thankfully, his yearning for more of God is being realized and David is being transformed. In talking about his experience thus far, David says, “In the first half of Service Adventure, I learned a lot about God, myself, and what God wants me to do.”
Each year I am profoundly moved as I read reflections by young people who say yes to service and participate in one of our many programs. I was struck by one particular learning: “Through our work we’ve learned that all people are loved and valuable regardless of abilities or resources.”
David may well end up a scientist with professional engagement in astrophysics, computer programming, and coding. I am convinced, however, that he will not fit the stereotype of someone so consumed by his occupation that he has no time for people or sensitivities to their common humanity and the needs and struggles of others. My joy in my work is derived from knowing that along with David, hundreds of other young adults (and some older ones, too, along with children) are not only making a difference in the lives of those they work with as they share companionship, solidarity, friendship and compassion. My joy is amplified in the awareness that they, too, are being made different—through their counter-cultural choices and engagements, they are being transformed and are becoming agents of transformation, advancing God’s healing and hope in a hurting world. I salute them and so many thousands of alumni who have served God’s purposes in the world. And I salute you. Without your sharing and generosity, these stories of transformation and hope would not have been possible. Thanks!
Stanley W. Green
God's love has no boundaries
By Stanley W. Green
<img alt="Extending Beyond, February 2017" src="/PublishingImages/2017/ExTending_Feb_2017_cover.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />