2. August 2016

The Church or our faith as a transnational home?

Now it has been already two days since our Bible Dialogue for theology students ended. It was a unique experience with 16 participants from 10 different countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America – and that is not counting the conference team. Non-European participants are still rather new for us and for this year’s topic “MIGRATION- The Church As A Transnational Home” is was a special gift which gave us new perspectives. I don’t know where to begin. Already the Peters Projection of the world on our map, read upside down from what we were all used to seeing was a step towards a new orientation. We realized that migrating is part of our heritage. Since the early days of humanity, people set out to find a better place to live, the Promised Land, or simply a place where their children would have a future. What changed is that more and more nations feel that they have arrived and are getting complacent in a presently comfortable situation which they are disinclined to share. But no matter how pleasant our lives may be, for instance in Germany, our true home is not here at all. Our true home will be with God. We will dwell or we are dwelling in Jesus, but what does this mean?
Quite a bit of our program got changed around because our discussions were just too intense to stop and move on to the next topic. I am grateful to the conference team, who were flexible and open in regard to the needs and wishes of our group. (In a few days, I will send Jiri’s paper, I promise)
Of course we did not just discuss in theory but also asked ourselves what we can do in our home churches to allow people from other countries and other cultures to feel that they have their home in their hearts: their faith. Julian put is quite clearly: Belonging comes before believing. We need to feel like we belong so that we can believe that our churches may be a glimpse of our true home.
I was one of the few who were actually locally at home, being from Berlin and living here, so for me this was most and foremost a lesson in how great our Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, really is. "Great" meaning both vast and wonderful and diverse and colourful.

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