Yesterday morning, Andrew preached at the English service of a local Chinese church. He turned our eyes to Jesus's parable of the mustard seed and the leaven... reminding us of the pervasiveness and the power of the kingdom of God. "A farmer knows the power of his seed," he told us.
The power of His kingdom... And yet, some days it feels like the world is getting worse-- is His kingdom really coming to earth as it is in heaven?
Andrew reminded this particular congregation, myself most of all, that God's kingdom had its beginnings in the seemingly small and ordinary. When the magi came searching for the Christ, they first burst through palace doors. And yet he was not found in royal chambers; He was found in a simple mother's arms, in a place where farm animals sheltered themselves from weather.
And God's kingdom, like leaven in dough, pervasively went forth from the workings of a Father through His Son--in small, and ordinary, and very earthy ways. This is the blessing of incarnation: A God who puts on flesh.
One of the ways he takes care of us in our flesh is to give us shepherds on this side of heaven. While certainly flawed, our pastors are a means of grace to us. Andrew has always been a shadow of the Chief Shepherd to me and to our family. I'm so thankful the Lord has called him to shepherd others, too.
Last night we had the joy of participating in worship as Andrew was ordained as a PCA pastor. During the service, one of the pastors quoted Augustine: "A sacrament is a visible sign of God's invisible grace." Although not a sacrament, he was saying what we all felt: This visible sign of the charges and the laying on of hands was a sign pointing to the kind hands of Jesus leading Andrew into pastoral ministry.
I'm thankful for the small and ordinary ways that Andrew has stepped into others' lives to shepherd and care for them. He has been a picture to me of a God who endures, a Shepherd who is faithfully present.
We are so thankful for our short time here at Perimeter Church (and Christ Church Suwanee and Atlanta Chinese Christian Church). Last night was a visible reminder of how the Lord has cared for us in the in-between world we are living in. As the elders laid hands on Andrew, we could also feel the hands of so many not physically with us. What a kind God we serve! He has shown his kindness to us through so many of His people.