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Lenten Devotional: Mar 2

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Today’s texts:  Genesis 42:1-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-8; Mark 3:19-35

Mark 3:19-35

When Jesus began his ministry, some people thought he was out of his mind, so his family came looking for him to try to restrain him.  Today, Asian Americans who respond to the call to full time Christian ministry often encounter the same situation.

My father and mother came to this country in the 1920s on merchant papers. At the time there were few opportunities for Chinese in America. My father worked as a cook for a Chinatown butcher shop in San Francisco during the day, and made noodles for a Chinatown tea house in the evening.  My mother worked as a seamstress in one of the many Chinatown sewing factories. They wanted something better for their children.

Work opportunities for Chinese Americans improved during World War II, and many of my contemporaries took advantage of this new openness to prepare themselves as engineers, teachers, social workers, etc.

When I answered the call to fulltime Christian ministry and was preparing to go on to seminary, I could see that my mother was clearly disappointed. She found it particularly painful to tell her coworkers that I was preparing to become a pastor. She sensed in their response that they pitied her because her son had chosen the ministry.

I regret that my decision placed her in this awkward situation.  I am grateful, however, that years later she came to appreciate what I was doing in the church, and offered herself for Christian baptism.

When God calls, we must respond.

James Chuck is Pastor Emeritus of First Chinese Baptist Church, San Francisco (1951-1991), Professor Emeritus of Theology and Church Ministries at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, California (1991-2007), and is currently a Senior Consultant for the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity and Director of the Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project. and ISAAC research seminars

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