Over 150 people from across eight CTK congregations got a taste of heaven on Friday, May 2nd, as they filled the Dorchester sanctuary to praise God for his work across Boston and pray for his kingdom to come in the city. United with one voice, we read Psalm 107 and sang praises in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Oil (pronounced “Oy”) Zivan, sharing the first of two testimonies, reflected on God’s faithfulness in her life by bringing her to live with relatives in the U.S. Raised as a Buddhist in Thailand, Oil’s curiosity was peaked by her aunt and uncle’s bold belief in Jesus. “In Buddhism, everything is about giving, charity, and helping others,” Oil said, “But the motivation is self-centered, it's to save myself or pay for my own debt. I felt that the burden was too heavy, and by the grace of God, I was found. And I don't have the need to free myself anymore.” She is deeply grateful for the people in the church who help her navigate life in a broken world with a new hope in Christ.
Jessica Rogers, a high school senior, spent most of her childhood in Georgia until her father accepted the call to pastor CTK Dorchester in 2008. Life in her new hometown required getting used to bedtime sirens and overhearing neighbors arguing. As Jessica recounted the heartache of friendships torn apart by gossip, she praised God; “This year I saw God’s faithfulness even when I doubted His goodness. God has redeemed my friends, brought me healing, and given me hope and an amazing future.”
In a message for the church, Dan Rogers, Pastor of CTK Dorchester, reminded us, “God has given us the name Christ The King, and with that we’re saying something mighty – that our Jesus is Christ, The King, and like earthly kings he has a kingdom, a people, and a plan.”
“Our King,” Dan explained, “didn’t simply inherit his kingship by birthright, he stepped down from glory and into our dirty world and lives – he didn’t send an army, he came himself, and through his life, suffering, death, and resurrection won his kingship.”
The Kingdom of God is not a geographical location, but more about a dominion that he rules and reigns over even though we may not see it.
In fact, Dan talked about how the evidence of God’s rule can be hard to see in the city, on our streets, in our homes, and even in our own hearts. “The three largest neighborhoods in Boston are Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan where 85% of the children are growing up in single parent homes – likely without a dad,” Dan said, “In my neighborhood, a young man of color has a greater statistical likelihood of being incarcerated than graduating from college. I don’t see the evidence of God’s Kingdom in that. But we don’t despair because our King not only has a Kingdom, but his plan is to use his people. You are the King’s people.”
“We tend to think that the kingdom looks like me, talks like me, and worships like I worship. God’s kingdom looks a whole lot different than just you and me – it is more than white, more than American – it includes every tribe, tongue, and nation. We need to trust God for pastors and elders who aren’t from here and don’t look like us. We need to trust God that 10 years from now we’re not just singing in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.”
The city of Boston draws people from all over the world, and about a third of the city is made up of people who were born outside the U.S., making it uniquely diverse and providing a great opportunity to reach the world in our neighborhoods.
Dan encouraged the congregation, “By God’s grace, let us pray that 10 years from now when we gather together we’ll be singing in Vietnamese, Chinese, Swahili, and on and on. In the meantime, he is using you and me to be about his kingdom. May we bow the knee, confess the name, and say, “Lord use me to be about your kingdom.”