Monday, October 30, 2006

The common cup

MATT - Well today at church we celebrated communion and I was thrilled. (Ok for you Catholics reading this feel free to just shake your head and laugh at us funny Protestants) Anyway, I was thrilled that we used the common cup as we celebrated the Lord's Supper, which means we all drank for the same cup. I know that this freaks many of you out, especially with our germophobic american hypersterile culture, and you are thinking that I'm crazy but let me explain. You see I think that communion is an act that binds us and celebrates that we Christians are one in Christ. It is a time when we find solidarity in Jesus. It is a time when all the walls and differences between us are broken down as we come before God. When there is no race or social status, one and all are united to Him. It is a time when we look back to what Jesus did for us on the cross and remember His sacrifice for our sins. It is also a time when we look forward to the wedding feast of the Lamb where we will celebrate our union to Jesus for eternity. Wow, I love thinking about this stuff. Anyway, I think that a very real illustration of these things happens when we come to the common cup of Christ. When young and old, black and white, rich and poor can drink from the same vessel, this unites us in more than one way.

(Interesting note however, We were at a Jesuit church a couple weeks ago for mass and they only celebrate communion with the bread and not the wine. Apparently they stopped using wine during the times of the black plague around the 1600's ish and the tradition changed then and thus only the body is given during communion.)

SHARON - Ok, so I've just read Matt's post. . . and I need to let you know my perspective of this morning. As I walked up to the front to take part in the common cup, I kept thinking, "Lord, I know that this is a symbol of the wedding to feast to come, and really I am excited about that. . . really, . . but Lord, they only use grape juice here at this church. . . Isn't the alcohol in wine supposed to be what kills all the germs ? . . .so. . .um. . .does it still count if I just let my lips touch the juice????"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Day in The Dorms

Well yesterday we were at the dorms again at Kaunas Tech University and Sharon and I were knocking on dorm room doors doing surveys. We were asking students some questions about themselves and about life. We had a great time talking with and listening to different students as we tried to understand what its like to be a university student in Kaunas. Two guys stood out though. They invited us into their room and we sat down on their beds to talk. We explained who we were and that we were trying to get to know students and get an idea of what they thought about spiritual things. We asked them some basics about themselves and then asked some harder questions, like what happens after death, who was Jesus, and what is your purpose in life? We all had a good time talking about these questions and joking around and when they were done answering, one of the guys ran through the list of questions on us to see how we would answer them. It was great to tell them who we think Jesus is, the hope He has given us, and all that He has done in our lives. I (Matt) am hoping to hang out again with these guys soon and show them more of the Jesus I know.
On the way home we hopped off the mini bus (form of public transportation consisting of a van driven by crazy man that weaves through heavy traffic) and got a kebabai (meat substance and cabbage wrapped in a tortilla like shell) and went for a walk in the park where leaves had accumulated. We sat down to watch the leaves fall as we prayed for all the students we met and to talk about our day. As we chatted I enjoyed my kababai and I thanked God for the animal that He created with which they used to make theses tasty treats, whatever that animal may be.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Livin' in Senamiestyje (Old Town Kaunas)

How amazing is it to be here in Kaunas living amongst so much history and beauty. It is a great time of year as the warmth from the summer fades into the crispness of fall. The leaves loose there life and begin to burn with the colors of autumn and we get to stand back and watch natures show. Though their is amazing beauty all around us we also find ourselves not as enamored with all the cute and fun things the culture greeted us with. In fact its easy to get frustrated with daily stuff that is small yet gets to you. Case and point, cobble stone streets are adorable, until you walk them every day and have almost twisted your ankle 5 times. Yet in all we are still very excited to be here and are thrilled to see how God is going to change this town as He ushers in the Kingdom of God more on this earth, and more in Kaunas Lithuania.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Games We Play

I have been confronted lately with the realization of how I can play games with God. Sharon wrote in our last update how a good apartment came along and we felt that God was telling us to give it to the other couple on the team. Since then I have a new found, though inconsistent, sense of justice that keeps growing everyday. Let me explain, you see when I do something wrong and my sin surfaces, I rely on the fact that we do not have a contractual relationship with God. Namely, that He does not treat us as our sin deserves, but is patient and full of grace. This is a truth that I would die for. However, contradiction has surfaced yet again in my life and I have had thoughts that God should reward us for thinking of the others on our team instead of ourselves. This is also known as a contractual relationship. So when things are in my benefit I find myself wanting a contractual God who treats me as I deserve.
Truly though I praise God that He loves us unconditionally, despite my inconsistencies.
So will we find a sweet apartment? I am not sure. I know that God does not owe us one. He is good however and loves to give good gifts to His children. But sometimes these good gifts are not always the “blessings” we think they should be. Sometimes they come wrapped in frustration or pain and they do not seem good until years later.
We are praying for a good apartment where we can feel at home though.