Hungary Blog – Day Two
May 7, 2017
Today was a day of intersections, as most days are if one is really paying attention. One life crossing with another, one story unfolding on top of another. One hope daring to cross the despair of another.
On this day, St Columba’s Church where Kearstin worships was one of our places of intersection. At this Church of Scotland Mission that is connected also with the Reformed Church of Hungary, the world seemed to gather.
There we met 17 year old, whose special needs prompted his parents to leave Istanbul, Turkey, to form a new life of hope given the difficulties which Anthony experienced in their home of origin. Two weeks into a future that was still unformed, Anthony’s mother shared her fear, while Anthony shared his hope about the future. Such are the intersections of life.
There was a man from Iran, who had chosen a new name upon coming to Hungary. He now has a job at Aqua World, a water park, even as he is dipping his toe into the waters of Christianity. At St. Columba’s his life has been strengthened and we were reminded that all it takes is one person intersecting your life, reminding you of the love of God for a whole new life to emerge, even if it is in fits and starts.
Even the leaders of this congregation come from other places. Pastor Aaron came to this church by way of the Presbyterians in the United States and the associate pastor, Njeri, came by way of Kenya and the United States along with her husband, also a PCUSA pastor.
People come and go in and out of the life of St. Columba’s all the time. Some are there for weeks, others are there for years. There is no time for the usual niceties of tentative engagement. In this intersection of God’s people, if you feel led to be in leadership, you are blessed to respond to the nudge of God as quickly as possible. In that space the imprint of God gets placed on this community in ways that fashion a taste of the beloved community. We will learn more about this tomorrow, but for today it was enough to simply worship – that is to pray, and sing, and hear a good word about God’s far-reaching love whereby a disciple’s life intersected with an Ethiopian eunuch and everyone was somehow changed for the better.
But the intersection wasn’t just about the formal worship, it was about the discovery of God around the table of fellowship. Lunch was potluck – a kind of loaves and fishes thing where there was more than enough for everyone who found a place in the circle which surrounded the table of nourishment and grace. That family from Istanbul that was the newest in the midst of the gathered community were invited to approach the table first, because Jesus tells us this is how God’s love works. The most vulnerable, the most unsure of the future are given the place of honor. After them, people approached the table from all points around the circle such that there was no other pecking order of priority, just a mix of lives intersecting in the big life that is God’s love always breaking forth in the most unlikely of ways and in the most unlikely of places.
Lunch was followed by playing a board game that people floated in and out of as their schedules allowed. There were conversations among strangers in two’s and three’s only to discover that by the act of risking a word there fewer strangers and more friends, because this is what the intersection of the holy in the midst of the ordinary will fashion.
After St. Columba’s, it was off to Heroes Square, a classic place of pillars and statues of warriors on horses from days gone by. Children climbed up onto the horses, as if to say, “I will ride with you O hero of yesteryear!” – an intersection of past meeting the present. But such places leave one wondering. How long will it be before such intersections might become testimonies to peace, the victory of an alternative way by which human beings solve the intersection of their differences? What kind of statues might those be? Only time will tell.
Off to the right of this intersection was another just down the street. In the city park there was the intersection of resistance to the powers and principalities of today. Seems the government wants to move all the museums from around the city into the green spaces of the park, sucking the life out of communities where those museums now stand, and turning green into granite or some other form that diminishes the capacity of the human to intersect with creation in the midst of the city.
Today was a day of intersections, as most days are if one is really paying attention. One life crossing with another, one story unfolding on top of another. One hope daring to cross the despair of another. A crucible of discovery and maybe even a cross of love if one looks hard enough and long enough to be changed!
-Rev. David Long-Higgins