Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What if?

It really is a remarkable thing. He showed up with skin-looked just like one of us. And yet angels knew him; he had been talked about from generation to generation; and was at last seen away in glory.' -1Timothy 3:16 (RSV)

Ok, so there has actually been so much lately that I have wanted to write about. However, it all came to a head at about 12:30 AM last night in Denmark. So while many of you were just getting off of work and figuring out how to spend your long weekend, I was sitting in Spreckers. The Danish pub, located right in the middle of Copenhagen’s ‘city center’ was packed out as patrons enjoyed a pint (or two, or three, or…) and listened to some live music. I found myself there with some students who are studying abroad in Berlin. (What is interesting is that the kids go to Wentworth College in Boston. They are actually in the same conference as Gordon where I have coached.)

These are some good guys and we hit it off fairly easily because they love Boston sports. They are all from the northeast. And while it may not be such a passion in my life (Boston sports anyway), I found myself conversing with them on a number of issues and topics. We had spent the better part of the evening together including a quick spell in Tivoli Gardens (google it) and found ourselves as Spreckers where they could enjoy the cheapest beer they could find amongst the other pubs. There was actually a 2 for 1 happy ‘hour’ that went the duration of the evening.

Anyway, we sat there and talked about a number of things from sports, to their architechtual studies, families, and so on as American music blasted over the loud speakers. After a little while a band came in to jam out and cover some classic American hits. Within the span of about an hour we had…Michael Jackson, Bob Marely, Bob Seager, The Fugees, Carols Santana, Wycliff Jean, and Eric Clapton. For the bar’s sake, I hope they weren’t getting paid. This was a simple three-man band; a drummer, bassist, and a lead guitar player/vocalist. It was not pretty. Notes were off pitch and the timing was off. I don’t really know good music. But I certainly know bad music. And we had found it. Nonetheless we sat and listened to each song proclaiming a winner to the mate who could first appropriately identify the song they were trying to play.

Then all of a sudden a song came on that I had definitely heard before. We all had. As I sat and listend intently it was a song that actually has caused so much confusion in my own life. The song: What if God was one of us? To be honest, I’m not exactly sure who wrote it. I remember first hearing it as a middle school kid and thinking it was quite cool. I liked the beat, the lyrics seemed Christian and overall, I just liked it. However, on more than one occasion when it came on Christian youth workers I was with quickly switched it off and moved to another song. I guess I never really questioned it. I trusted them and figured there was something in the lyrics I just didn’t hear or understand.

And yet as this song played out what happened next was very interesting. Up to this point, the band had done a solo act. The played every note and sang every word. But here the crowd was joining in. 99% of the group spoke Danish and yet EVERY person knew at least the chorus to this tune: ‘What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home.” And I just sat there and listened; watched intently. At this point my new friends had joined in the singing and had all commented that this was a great song.

The music continued as sections were done by an accapella crowd and still others by the harmonies of the band. Louder and louder it got and this seemed like far more than a drunken crew ecstatic about being at Cheers. No, this seemed like a cry out for an answer. What if God was one of us? What then would we do? How would we talk to him? Would He impact our lives? Now I know I am reading into this, but I really believe this was the case. A simple 3 minute song got dragged on for about 5 more chorus repeats and quickly became around 7 minutes.

And as we neared the end my mind was racing as I found myself wanting to shout out. Here I was, somewhere between Good Friday and Holy Saturday knowing, possessing, holding the answer all of these people so longed to know.

I wanted to cry back, “But you see, HE was! HE IS!”

To these people however, it was just a question, a ‘what if’ interruption in their next sip and their inevitable walk home. Ironically it had become as much a formality as the next couple days off would be-holiday for holiday’s sake; nothing more.
So I sat and ached. In what I know has not been the only time in my life I ached for these people to know that in fact God was, God is one of us. I don’t know that he’s a slob, or he’s trying to get home on a bus. The more I thought about it, because of this weekend,

He is really the one driving the bus Home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Little Person, Big World

I have just arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark! After several hours on a couple of planes I find myself sitting with my computer trying to take it all in. For your visionary needs, I am sitting on a red couch in the midst of a great room in a hostel called 'Sleep in Heaven." I couldn't make that name up. I am here, believe it or not, on business. I am trying to set up all of the necessary items (lodging, food, transportation, etc) for the Bridges F.C. tour here in July.

As it stands, I am exceptionally tired as I was unable to sleep on the plane for reasons I am still unsure of. Usually I sleep so well on planes. It is 2:16p here, but only 6:16a back home. I am doing my best to stay awake for the next six hours though I imagine it will be a dreadful task.

In the meantime, I have gone on a little walk both to exchange some money in the local currency (Danish Krona; 5.46 to the USD if you were curious) and to explore a little. To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure where I am. I just know I am about a 20 min tram ride from the airport and about 2 tram stops from Downtown Copenhagen.

But enough of the babbling - as I wandered this afternoon I was absolutely floored (as I often am in new cultures) to see the both the amazing number of people as well as interests that I was able to survey as I walked up and down the street. I saw Christians (fish on car) and Muslims (garb). Blacks, and whites. Men and Women. Children and old folk.

It was during this walk that I was opened, though not for the first time, at how big this earth is. At to how many different people inhabit and call it home. I was shocked at the number of buildings, shops, and other types of places that while are so new to me are no more than commonplace to many.

In all honesty, it caused me to step back and thing of the magnitude of our God. As I saw one man get out of his car it would be my guess that we are immensely different (race, age, religion, demographic). And yet I couldn't help but think of the very simple truth that God knows his name. I certainly do not. I probably never will. But that does not mean God does not, and has not labeled every hair on his head.

All to say I am both nervous and excited to see what else is in store on this trip. I just felt a need to write how small I felt on an immensely larger earth in the hands of an even still immensely larger God.