Mao or Jesus

3 05 2010

 

We just got word this morning that Maoist rebels are forming riot groups in the capitol of Nepal, Kathmandu.  In a large park just a few kilometers from where we are speaking at the International Church Planters Summit, the demonstrators are calling for a nationwide strike. 

In our meeting, pastors from all over Nepal are gathering to learn how to start new churches.  And, despite the civil unrest around them, they are being inspired to plant churches.

Today in the Taiwan News I read, “A senior U.S. official urged leaders of Nepal’s former communist rebels Monday to ensure that a protest against the government planned for later this week is peaceful.”

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leader of the Nepal’s Maoist Communist Party, announced that hundreds of thousands of supporters would come to the capitol, Kathmandu, on Saturday to protest against the government.  The announcement came with threats of indefinitely long strikes and further disruptions to the country if the Maoists’ demands for a new national government are not met immediately (Taiwan New online May 29, 2010).

Here is the fascinating part: the Maoist leaders and students are gathering in the same building that our church planters are gathering, Maoist revolutionaries on the 1st floor and Jesus revolutionaries on the 3rd  floor.

In this interesting historical moment, the small challenges of life still press in. I didn’t sleep well last night, not out of worry about Maoist rebels, but because of the “exotic” foods here in this part of the world—I spent more time in the bathroom than on my bed.  Miserable.  I am missing family and friends, and the familiarity of home (I’ve been gone for almost three weeks).

However, I had a lot of time to think—not very clearly, (that’s not my forte even on a good day!). How humorous and ironic—and symbolic even– that Maoist demonstrators would choose, out of the hundreds of buildings dotting the city, to meet in the same building as our church planters’ conference.

As I walk to and from our venue, UN trucks full of officials and Mao trucks full of students speed by.  In our meeting room, 500 pastors worship the Lord with joy and faith.  The contrast is poignant: two different revolutions, two different allegiances, two different passions.  Mao or Jesus.

I find myself full of excitement as I enter our packed room.  The majority of our pastors, avid and vibrant learners, are in their 20’s– they take notes on everything we teach, they ask insightful questions, and they want to know about Mountain Springs Church, and how to teach the Bible.  What joy!

The majority of these young people are poor.  In some cases they have traveled hundreds of miles by bus to get here.  They are sleeping on floors, gratefully eating the food we provide, and expectant of God showing up. 

Their faith and spirit is contagious.  After lunch yesterday, a group of young men surrounded me and peppered me with questions that ranged from my outfit (my daughter Deborah dressed me for this trip) to my line-by-line teaching style.

Here I am in the spring of 2010, hanging out with the next generation of Nepal’s Jesus revolutionaries.  Young men believing God for spiritual solutions to their country.  Two floors below another group of young people hang their hopes on political solutions.  Two groups full of hope, two groups full of expectations for change. 

30 years ago The Beatles sang about a revolution, capturing people’s longing for a better world, a better future.  The Beatles were right. A better world is only possible through a revolution.  The question is, what kind of revolution brings that better future.

As Jesus followers, we are all revolutionaries.  We are bringing a new future and new hope to everyone with whom we share our faith.  What a privilege.  What an adventure.

Right now I still feel a bit sick in the stomach, but as I meditate on the significance of this summit I am feeling better.  We are fomenting a new revolution in Nepal.  We are one part of a larger story of Christians bringing the greatest news ever told, the greatest revolution ever launched–salvation alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. 

Now that’s a revolution worth dying for.  And, maybe most importantly, that’s a revolution worth living for. Jesus is worth it.