Sunday, June 22, 2008

Férj és Feleség

Husband and Wife: What God has joined together...

This morning at 5 AM I got back home from the gorgeous wedding of Attila and Kara! It is exciting to see how God joins couples together for their good and for bigger purposes. He is so faithful to us, trustworthy, and the giver of perfect gifts: eternal life, grace, peace, joy, friends, love, the desires of our hearts, marriage, singleness, all of it (well, some gifts are mutually exclusive). His plan is the best for us, as was so apparent during the joyful ceremony and reception this weekend.

Now, I've heard jokes from many of you about coming to Hungary and getting married--sorry, I have no insight into this specific idea for you :)-- but for now, I am quite content to appreciate the new marital bliss of friends around me and the gift of singleness.

Congrats to Attila and Kara!

"Haven't you read," [Jesus] replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." ...
Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning..."
The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." Matthew 19:4-11

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Moths and rust; thieves and customs

As I sat on a box in the back of a delivery van (yeah, not a van for passengers) bracing around every curve and straining for a glimpse of sunlight so as to fight off claustrophobia, I had to laugh out loud: the price we pay for material stuff!

I spent the morning looking for and then working with the customs office to clear my boxes of books, DVD's, etc that would not fit in the two suitcases allocated to each air passenger. After polite customs officers, way too many forint (local currency), and a kind-hearted older man who drove the delivery van, I am now the proud possessor of eight vaguely familiar boxes. (I guess I packed that vase two months ago.)

Now, I've been looking forward to having books to read and movies to watch. Don't get me wrong. That cozy fleece will come in handy this fall. Artwork that used to hang on my walls in Illinois will be welcomed in my new flat. Stuff can be helpful and fun. But now more than ever I am aware of the limits--and often the setbacks--of stuff. Other things are just more important.

Like the kind-hearted man who waited for three hours and carried all my boxes even though I couldn't chat with him in Hungarian, the considerate customs officers who don't have an easy or popular job, my new students, and old friends. Investment in them will never land me in the back of a van and will have an eternal pay-off. So, as I careened backwards through the streets of Budapest (or at least it felt like careening), I got to check my heart's condition. It is nice to have my stuff, but I'll keep my treasure elsewhere.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, June 12, 2008


On the tram
"Villamos" was one of the first Hungarian words I learned, and I ride the tram every day along the Danube to language school. Tough gig, I know.

On the tram, I usually have my iPod playing something worshipful, upbeat, or instrumental (if I'm studying for the aforementioned language school). God and I have a wonderful time together during the commute as I sing along-- in my head, no worries--and ponder all that is going on.

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:1-2

The fact that the eternal God, mighty King, and awesome Creator hears my voice--even in my head-- is marvelous. What a great love! What a great God!

Yesterday during my commute, I was struck by some lyrics that I've heard a thousand times but that hefted new relevance on the streets of Budapest.
I love anonymity and I love being noticed just the same as anybody else. Years ago I told you how I love to be alone. These days I'd be perjuring myself. -Caedmon's Call

The anonymity--sorry, that's the best word for it--of the city is invigorating. The fact that I don't know any of the life stories around me prompts me to be curious and care for people more. How wonderful it is to be able to show a moment of concern for a fellow villamos passenger as she struggles up the steps. Will the glory of God show through?

But I must say, "being noticed" as the song continues, or being recognized by someone in the crowd is refreshing, too. To be always the stranger gets tiring. I've felt a bit too foreign or anonymous this week as I've trekked to language school and then headed home to study (or avoid studying). Yesterday, I even had a moment of deep sadness when it seemed that I was on the outside of every social circle here. But then, the God who listens to my brief comments on the tram stepped up and reminded me of truth, of his great love, and of friendships that are forming here.

Still, it may be time for some social interaction! :) Enough anonymity for now. Anyone up for the new Narnia movie?