May 5, 2010
Dear sisters and brothers,
Our church is having a special joint service to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. Don’t freak out!
Worship begins at 10:30 instead of 9:30 AM. Don’t freak out!
If your mother was anything like my late mother, Mother’s Day can actually be a “freaky” celebration. Mothers can be stubborn, over-bearing, annoying, and sometimes down right mean. At the same time, they can be tender, nurturing, loving, and long-suffering. Because moms are sometimes such a bundle of contradictions, it can cause “freak out” among their children!
But let’s pause and look at things from mom’s point of view. The natural stress of a parent who is trying to raise a child properly often collides with the child’s proclivity to resist or run away from parental control. And this goes on for at least twenty years. Like all good nurturers (including teachers), moms know that parenting require a careful blend of permissiveness and discipline, gentleness and strictness. But finding that balance isn’t easy, but every parent tries.
The Apostle Paul certainly wrestled with finding the nurturers’ balance! In his letter to the immature Galatians, he was frustrated by how easily his followers turned away from the gospel of grace to one of rituals and works. In Galatians 3:1, Paul scolds them: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Later he vents with parental exasperation: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!” (Gat. 4:19-20). As a nurturer of the spiritual growth of younger believers, Paul experienced the same struggle that all mothers, fathers, and teachers face. Indeed, in that space shared by nurturer and nurturee, there is plenty of opportunities for both sides to “freak out”!
But here’s the thing that makes all the difference in the world. That often frustrating shared space between nurturer and nurturee is also the sacred space where God brings real spiritual growth, joy, and love.
Many of us at Canaan were, like me, raised in the church. Sometimes we take for granted how special it was to always be in an environment where we could be cared for. It’s especially blessed to be raised in a church where one’s entire family belonged. As we honor our moms this Sunday, I hope we’ll also feel thankful for a community as loving and nurturing as Canaan!
And when the celebration is over, my sisters and brothers, let us consider become nurturers ourselves. It’s time stop mourning our losses and start anticipating God’s vision for us. It’s time to rebuild our English ministry! Please think about volunteering for these ministry areas:
1. Collegian and Young Adult summer outreach (contact Jonathan Weng) – begins now
2. Follow up with guests who visit at Sunday service or our Community Groups (contact me) – begins now
3. Planning Team for off-site retreat (contact me) – begins now
4. Volunteers to help with VBS parents’ track (contact me) – begins in July
In the next couple of weeks, if an English Leadership Team member or I approach you about helping out, please don’t freak out! God may be calling you to be a nurturer at Canaan!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨
Interim English Pastor
Office: 408-942-2822 x113