Πρῶτον μὲν εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν, ὅτι ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καταγγέλλεται ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
While reading this back on Ash Wednesday, my mind flooded with memories of both my Greek intensive in seminary and all of the international students I knew who had returned home or throughout the planet and walk faithfully with Jesus.
On the first day of my Greek class, our grad-student instructor wrote Rom. 1:8 in Greek on the board. He worked out the grammar for every word, and then gave us his English translation of the text. He then prayed for us that the world would know of our faith in Christ throughout the earth. Coming from an educational system that had been public, not only was I delighted for his faith, but overjoyed that the instructor could pray before class began.
On the last day of my Greek class, our instructor wrote Rom. 1:8 again on the board. You could have heard a pin drop: on the carpet. We all understood the text: no need for the instructor to work out the grammar. I recall reading, and feeling, “Paul is praying thanksgiving to God in Christ for a people whose faith is being announced around the world.” That feeling was not in English! 🙂
Back to Ash Wednesday 2011: And having read the above, my mind ran back to friends who have returned to HongKong before 1997, and continue to serve and give witness to the Gospel; I-students who have returned to France, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, China, Korea, and Japan. It’s a little humbling to think of the gift of friendship and partnership in the Gospel that I’ve received from God in these friends. And it’s great to consider the kindness and graciousness of God through Jesus Christ to grant such friendships with world changers.