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He was a man of few words. My visits often consisted of a monologue I carefully constructed around veiled questions, hoping he would offer up details about his life without getting agitated. But his responses were short — a few words uttered in a deep voice that got louder if he was irritated by the subject matter.
One of our core beliefs as Presbyterians is that the more people involved in a decision, the more likely we are to figure out where God is leading us. That’s why so many teaching elders and ruling elders are attending General Assembly. It’s also why Presbyterians spend so much time in meetings. We believe that many cooks only make the broth tastier.
Many questioned whether it could be done. As the Church was weighing in on issues of racism, immigration, fossil fuels and the stormy political climate in Washington, two women took a step in faith and made history in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston decided two were better than one and became the first co-moderators for the General Assembly at the 222nd General Assembly (2016).
La 223a Asamblea General de este verano será mi número 41. Mi primera fue en Portland, Oregón en 1967, cuando era estudiante universitario y presbiteriano de cuna, quería ver de primera mano el debate sobre la Confesión de 1967. Desde entonces, me he perdido muy pocas asambleas generales. Sí, soy un «adicto a la AG».
This summer’s 223rd General Assembly will be my 41st. My first was in Portland, Oregon, in 1967 when, as a college student and cradle Presbyterian, I wanted to see firsthand the debate on the Confession of 1967. Since then, I have missed very few General Assemblies. Yes, I am a “GA junkie.”
In 2016, when I was 12 years old, I read an article about a boy half my age named King Carter who was gunned down less than a mile from my home in Miami Shores. King was walking to a convenience store to buy candy when he was killed in the crossfire between two drug-dealing gangs. After reading about his tragic story, I didn’t understand why he had to die.
If the apostle Paul had to cite an example of his words spoken to the Romans — “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans” — all he would have to do was point to St. Louis on a map.
Children and teens swarmed around First United Presbyterian’s churchyard, their laughter and chatter almost as loud as the buzzing of the summer mosquitoes that swarmed along with them. Poles were scattered on the grass, as were piles of shapeless pieces of neon orange nylon, black tarp and Army green canvas.
What time do Korean churches gather to have morning prayer? Five o’clock in the morning? How could you possibly pray that early? It’s an ungodly hour of the day! This is the common response I get from non-Koreans asking about the prayer life in Korean churches.
The Ascension of the Lord has never been an important event on the Presbyterian church calendar. But perhaps it should be, as there are things we can learn from it.
The story of Jesus ascending into heaven after appearing to his followers in the 40 days after his resurrection does come with two significant challenges. First, as a rule, people do not simply float away into the sky. Just think of the nightmare that would pose for the Transportation Security Administration. Secondly, the story presents a picture of the universe we know not to be true. “Heaven” is not “up” and “hell” is not “down” and we do not live in “the middle.” So a literal reading of the story is not going to be helpful.