A Humbling Experience, by Judy Fiske
One never knows what is going to happen in worship on a Sunday morning at Tabernacle Baptist Church. We, as pastoral staff put a lot of prayer, planning and time working to make worship meaningful and orderly, but each week God does seem to remind us of who is actually in charge during worship. Last week God sent us the special gift of the Karen pastor, Pastor Hendrick, from Chapel Hill, NC to help to remind us of the breadth of the community that we join as we are baptized as Christians.
It is often easy as Baptist Americans to view our baptism as a private experience between God and us. We are being baptized to show to the world that we have accepted Jesus as our personal savior. When Pastor Hendrick came to church last week with the purpose of thanking Americans for accepting the Karen into our communities it was visual and aural reminder that while we are indeed baptized to acknowledge our personal relationship with Jesus Christ that baptism also makes us a part of a larger community in which our personal relationship with Jesus gives us the responsibility, courage and strength to participate.
I am constantly inspired by the courage that is exhibited by our Karen and Chin friends as they face new challenges here in America on a daily basis. I am inspired by the strength of their reliance on their individual and communal relationship with Jesus to survive the challenges that they face everyday. I was humbled by the fact that Pastor Hendrick had worked to write and share a song in English to thank America for allowing him the freedom to live and just be himself, worshipping God in the way he saw fit. I hope that America and American Christians will continue to allow people to join our communities and just be themselves; living in the love of God and becoming the people that God intends them to become. I pray that America can live up to praise of a Karen Christian who sings seven verses of “America, America, I thank you” as an expression of his gratitude for being allowed to live, eat, work and practice his Christian faith in freedom.
May each of us continue to do our part to live in community and make people welcome as they come our way.
Pastor Hendrick from Chapel Hill, NC
Sunday, January 9, 2011
“Now I sing a song, When I arrived in America I saw America people in the refugee camp, so I was very, very glad you help us every single day, so when in 2009 I wrote a song for America. I understand only a little. My song 7 parts.”
Oh America, Oh America. I would like to thank you so much you do good things for us.
Oh America, Oh America. I would like to thank you so much for your help at us.
Oh America, Oh America. May God the Lord our God bless you everything you do.
Oh America, Oh America. May God the Lord our God bless you government kingdom.
Oh America, Oh America. You lead in God everything as the Bible told you.
Oh America, Oh America. You have wisdom that comes from God fulfilled in your life.
Oh America, Oh America. May your kingdom withstand all things forever lasting.
Oh America, Oh America. May your kingdom be like heaven ever lasting life.
Oh America, Oh America. In God you trust so thank you see the ______ everywhere.
Oh America, Oh America. You help all needs in everything in everywhere.
Oh America, Oh America. You help us and you take care and give us everything.
Oh America, Oh America. I thank you very much God be with you always.
Oh America, Oh America. I thank you very much for you give us the jobs here.
Oh America, Oh America. In everything for you have, thank you very much.