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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Jesus is the Answer

The question of identity and acceptance torments many people. In my class this fall, I am learning about the Turkish community in Germany, and the general problems that immigrants face while trying to intergrate into the host community. Their challenges mirror the hardships that second-generation African-Americans and second-generation Asians experience when they emigrate to America. It’s the same dilemma that President Obama faced, leading him to author his now famous memoir Dreams from My Father.

In learning about these immigrant issues, I vowed that I would not allow my children to grow up in a foreign country. Since God has given me Kenya, then they must grow up in Kenya, speak Kenyan, ultimately forge a Kenyan identity. I did not see this any other way around. The last thing I wanted was to have my kids growing up unaccepted in a foreign community. But then, something happened.

I attend this amazing little church in Berlin called Christliche Glaubensgemeinde, Berlin (CGG-Berlin). The congregation is international, representing all continents in one small crowd. I love this little place, not just for the Word of God that I receive, but also for the kind of community they have forged. Yes, they have their different cultures, different ideas, but they all share and celebrate one thing—Jesus Christ. And the pastor was very vocal about it, saying how the church loves and celebrates its diversity. And indeed, I have honestly never seen anything as beautiful as the spirit of love and acceptance that flourishes in this church.

I am truly thankful to God for having been at this church at such a time like this. My experience there has reminded me why Jesus must be the answer to the question of identity. When we come together in the Christian faith, we embrace our identities as sons of God. We are co-heirs with Christ, we are part of the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter who we are, or where we come from. Our identities fade in the light of the ultimate identity—that of being seekers of the kingdom, of being men and women after God’s own heart.

When we embrace this identity, we can be more patient with those struggling to understand themselves in a foreign land. If we are struggling with identity, then we will know where to turn to. So ultimately, it won't really matter who we are or where we come from. What matters is that Jesus lives in our hearts. And that is the identity that will really matter at the end of our lives.

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