Shela’s Last Post & Spoken Word

For the past two weeks, the Word of God and the words of godly men have pierced me and planted in me wisdom about the kind of woman and daughter of God I should desire to become. Funny, because I’ve never been one to want to sit down and read for long periods of time, but I guess things don’t always stay the same, nawmsaynnn?

Ahnyung friends, and welcome to the tallest BAyUP blog post of posts.

On the 13th of July, I indulged in a short but compelling reading of Jean Vanier’s From Brokenness to Community. Jean exhorted me that my ability to heal others will not come from my riches, but from my poverty. It’s true. The riches that I cling to in this life, I consciously know to be ephemeral. Yet it never occurred to me that my worth, then, must not be in that which is extravagant, but in that which is poor. Do I consider myself poor? Not really. But I want to embrace the poverty in me, my broken humanity that will draw me close to Christ’s heart. I want to understand and conduct myself in a way that someone who knows she is poor would – with humility and grace and patience among both poor and rich men.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the epitome of this humility, and he ended up healing, oh I don’t know… everyone and their moms. So the tactic probably works. What this means for me is this: I will not consider myself superior over any person, in any facet of what it means to be a human being, me who lives only with the breath that God chooses to give me every new day. I won’t consider my talents to be above anyone else’s; I won’t hold my filled stomach over those of the hungry; I won’t consider my physical and mental health superior over the disabled; I won’t hold my college education above those who didn’t have the resources or support to receive one; I won’t, I won’t, I won’t! But realistically, I know will, against my own will. So help me, Jesus. Prune me, Jesus. It is the only way.

I followed by reading Ezekiel’s inaugural vision of the awesome approach of the glory of God in Ezekiel 1. Reading closely into the text, I found myself in this silent place of awe. All Ezekiel could manage to describe was the likeness of living creatures, the appearance of burning coals of fire, the like of gleaming beryl, the likeness of an expanse, like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty. There are no words in the human language that can depict the glory of God. And I just sat there like… :O. I constantly casual-ize his holiness, and my insensitivity to his glory informs my sluggish life response to his commission over me. Foolish.

That following Friday, I had a lovely date with the Holy Spirit, sitting in the middle of a narrow hiking trail at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland’s Dimond district. The spot overlooked the tops of trees off to the side, and a slight view of the bay. The only sound was that of chirping birds and breezing winds, and it was vere naahce. In that quiet spot, Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest (July 15) sparked a really intimate time in the secret place for me. “Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and he spent himself to express it.” It’s not about trying to earn my salvation, but rather letting that deep gratitude translate into a form of loving and thankful service to the person that Jesus was in this place, in this time. I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the Gospel of Jesus. Meditating upon this, I found myself focused on the truth: my life in him, and death in myself. By his blood, I am free to bind myself to him. And then I thought back to the awe that Ezekiel had in his vision of God’s glory approaching him. I’ve been given access to the likeness of everything glorious. I have been given freedom to be bound to that glorious God. I am free to bound to You, my Giver of glory, I said out loud. It felt odd-kward, but really freeing.

Amos study with the entire BAyUP team fed me very fully as well. I took away that my worship to the Lord must be coupled with a pursuit of justice. If God truly compels me to respond to him in worship, my life should be that worship service. My soul and presence should exude the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, and my life here – my choices in relationships, lifestyle, career, stewardship of resources, character – should pursue justice and love over God’s people. Justice shouldn’t be an intellectual commercial break in the trajectory of my own life, but let it consume and transform my life. I need Jesus’ heart to replace mine in order to do this. Help me, Jesus.

One lovely day, Erina Melody Kim wrote us a letter, sharing the passages she received while praying for each of us. She gave me Luke 1:26-38, where the virgin Mary hears from Gabriel that she is to birth into the world, the Savior of the world. How krrrray kray must that have been? Her short but powerful response stuck with me for many days and nights: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me as you have said.” As her response lingered with me, I came upon Jeremiah 42:1-7 during a reflection time we had. In this passage, God says that he upholds his servant, that he has chosen him and put his spirit on him, that his servant will bring justice to the nations and will not be discouraged until he does so. God, the One who spoke the heavens and earth into being, has called me into righteousness. He speaks righteousness over me with power, and holds my hand in my pursuit of justice. In response to this, I pray: I, Shela Sinhye Jeong, am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me as you have said, whatever it is you have said. “For nothing is impossible with God.” –Luke 1:37 Ahhh-men, brothers.

On Wednesday, the 20th of July, we attended a vigil for immigration reform, totally organized and put on by the fabulous Erica, Erin, Sara, John, and David. I shared a spoken word that the Holy Spirit totally wrote. You can read it if you want, below!

“Freedom is not a universal phenomenon.
Instead, it is contingent upon the context
by which we establish our identity.
It is contingent upon the standard of life we
have accepted as our own,
the standard of life to which we
have been assigned.

In this place and time,
the standard of life which I must accept as mine
seems to stem from
the color of my skin,
the songs of my mother, working in the kitchen,
from the direction from which the sun
smiled down at 3 o’clock,
casting playful and faithful shadows
that followed me
all the way home to my mother
working and singing in the kitchen,
whose sweet tunes danced their way
into my childhood ears
every day, as I walked home from school.

According to the color of my skin
and songs in my ears,
the forces of politics, politics, economics,
money tricks, and
politics
authored the kind of freedom
that we so desired,
but that my mother, working and singing in the kitchen
could never feed us.

According to the color of my skin
and songs in my ears,
we went hungry
for the kind of freedom that would keep us
from going hungry,
for the kind of freedom that would give us
permission to spend our evenings
dancing,
not playing chase with our hours of sleep,
which always seemed to taunt us
about how quickly they got away,
but I guess that’s just part of the game.

According to the color of my skin
and songs in my ears,
I was forced into a game of hide & seek,
elimination round.
I never understood
why
the seeker couldn’t just find me, tap me on the shoulder,
and laugh.
I never understood
why
I never got to laugh,
why the game was so serious and strained,
but I guess that’s just part of the game.

Because even if I were found,
and by the rules of the elimination round,
sent far away
to a life I’ve never known
and to a land that’s never known me,
I’m still
here.
I still pray to the same One
hears.

I still stand
on the same ground you stand on
by the same gravitational,
family relational,
five sensational,
“come all who are thirsty and drink from springs of Living Water” invitational
dominion of God,

the Maker of Heaven and Earth,
the Giver of life and
every good thing.

You can chase me with a stick.
You can move me across lines like
a game piece on a Monopoly board.
You can tear my family and home
apart
like a house of cards.

But remember,
that games are fun for everyone.
A smile is a smile.
Grieving is grieving.
The same things make us proud and ashamed.
The sun gives a playful and faithful shadow
to every child walking home from school.

There is the human race.
And then there is God;
and humanity as a whole falls
short of his glory.
And all of a sudden,
we are one.

The prophet John says about the coming of the kingdom in Revelation 7:
                  “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands, and they cried out in a loud voice:

‘Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!’

Then, one of the elders said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Brothers and sisters,
our freedom is contingent upon the context
by which we establish our identity.
It is contingent upon the humanity
that we own in ourselves,
the humanity through which
we dwell in our sin.
And our freedom is in Christ.
My freedom is in Christ,

And I await the day when the people of God
come together in righteousness
for justice
in unity
to re-erect the kingdom of God on this earth.

The song of his kingdom come
still rings
in my ears,
and I believe
we will be free.”

We will be free, friends! Thinking about being there, among the nations, tribes, peoples and languages, worshiping God on his throne, gives me joy and excitement that transcends my usual fear of the unknown, despite the knowledge that the unknown is good. So thank you, Jesus.

This might be the last time I blog before returning home. So see you later, beloved. I can’t wait to see you guys again, hug and share the blessing that has been this anointed experience.

In love and joy and peace and Him,

Shela S. Jeong

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The Mural

Erin, David, John, Erica, and I (Sara) have been working at Street Level Health Project 3 days a week.  They asked us to create a mural of the Street Level story.  It’s been amazing to see it come together.  Major props to Erin & David – our lead artists & visionaries.  (Don’t miss the slideshow captions!)

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Our final presentation to Street Level is on Friday.  Pray that this will be part of our witness and love to them & the community.  We’ll post the final pictures soon!