July 8, 2009

Circling the globe

Our party of four made our way from Kansas City to Hong Kong yesterday and the day before. Crossing the international date line heading east means you "lose" a day (although a day spent reading and conversing with a treasured colleague should hardly be considered a loss!)  It was a non-eventful, very long (about 16 hours) journey. The flight was filled with Chinese and Americans, primarily. Thus, there were many opportunities to hear language foreign to someone's ears, as well as opportunities to navigate limited space with smiles, bows, and sustained good humor.  It came to mind that perhaps a good warm-up for the meeting of G-8 would be to take a long trip together in cramped space; it would certainly focus the issue of sharing resources, taking turns, making space for the neighbor, etc. 
The route from Newark to Hong Kong took us over the north pole and across expansive stretches of Russian and China. The sheer vastness of the land masses and oceans brought to mind to the wondering praise of the Psalmist who marveled at the works of God's hand. Arriving in Hong Kong as the last shafts of sunlight from the west were waning, we were thankful to make our way to a nearby hotel to rest and prepare for this new day. We will visit the President of Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary and other friends in this remarkable city. We are grateful for the opportunity to represent Central to these Asian sisters and brothers in Christ. We come with open hearts to learn of their practice of faith in the emerging faith communities in China and Thailand.
Viewing the trip map throughout the flight allows a holistic geographic perspective on our globe much larger than our more usual short flights. It prompts a sense of connection and interdependence in ways our more atomized viewpoints do not. It is always helpful, of course, to view one's own nation from a distance--learning what we export to the world. Somehow, the travails of Michael Jackson which are filling the news in Hong Kong, seem of little consequence given the groaning needs of the world. May we gains hearts of wisdom.
Molly T. Marshall, Ph.D.

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