By Pastor Lyn Rush
Lyn Rush serves Pinoy Van-Port Ministries in Vancouver, Wash. This new church start serves Filipino Americans and immigrants with a keen focus on social justice for all. In part two of this essay, Rush acknowledges “people are people”, dispels the notion all marchers are destructive, and reaffirms her commitment to social justice through peace. (Click here to read, part 1.)
Part II: God is alive in the midst of everything we do.
DEEP LISTENING + RISK-TAKING > DOUBTING
In our first planning meeting at a coffee shop, we’ve committed to exploring the possibilities of bridging all these differences and challenges thus far by trusting God’s guidance. We continue to do so not as the typical traditional church. It will be unusual, flexible, multicultural, engaging, while seeking justice towards peacemaking without limits.
As I help build a community for faith in Jesus Christ with Pinoy Van-Port Ministries, I’ve found that “people are people”. Processing what people like and dislike involves deep listening. Some will say that you are going in the “wrong direction” or even the “wrong crowd”. Or someone will say, “You will never have a Filipino Church.” But part of risk-taking is believing it can be done if we allow God to be our guide.
Everyone defines social justice in their own way, whether derived from a dictionary or relating it to Jesus’ life and teachings. In our ministry, we approach human rights concerns for the people in the Philippines. We make connections with immigrants’ lives in the community when it comes to labor and wages.
My appeal: enough of the doubts. Pray first and then ask, “What does Jesus want us to do in our lives?” This is a challenge for all of us who professed being Christians.
Remember the verse, Matthew 5: 46-48 (NIV)?
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“YES!” TO ADVOCACY
While working with young people and young adults for social justice, right away you feel the tension on other people’s faces of those against human rights advocates. I’ve found that walking with this group has been a very peaceful, organized, and passionate protest experience with citizens coming from different countries. Together, we’ve marched for freedom from imperialism, the call for (racial and criminal justice) equality, equal & fair wages for immigrant workers, freedom for activist prisoners, and a voice for the oppressed and other human rights violations.
We are NOT the stereotypes you might see on the TV news of rallyists who destroy property. These voices want to be loved, protected and accepted. “Yes!” to human rights advocates who march and rally!
The work for social justice starts with seeing everyone with a good heart. In our past gatherings, despite the distance, everyone shows up, open to new possibilities:
- WE WILL make a difference and we can be a bridge of unity and be better despite our differences.
- WE WILL promote awareness of cultural uniqueness.
- WE WILL emphasize peacemaking starting with simple acts of kindness.
- WE WILL offer a prayer, offer hugs of comfort, and donate to saving/building children’s schools for children.
- WE WILL strive to cultivate and strengthen faith to be welcoming and full of compassion for the good of everyone.
- WE WILL continue to reach out to those who are marginalized– whether they are hungry, homeless, displaced, disabled, or even radical-minded and misunderstood.
- WE ALL deserve the abundance of life’s bounty, love, healing, reconciliation, restructure and more so acceptance of whoever we are (just like how Jesus accepted the woman at the well in John 4 and woman caught on adultery in John 8:1-11. “Go and sin no more”. And as Micah 6:8 says “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.”).
- WE ALL are part of the Kingdom of God. Who are we to deny anyone?
How can we inspire future generations, “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”? Am I treating a friend or enemy just like we want to be treated?
As a believer, it is up to us to take that by heart and rethink our actions over and over. This affirms peacemaking without limits. Where will God guide you?
Pastor Lyn Rush is a layperson in the PNW Conference.
Rush would like to give thanks to God for these special people who has believed in the possibilities: Bishop Elaine Stanovsky with her blessings on my 40th Birthday, David Valera, Mark Galang, Allan Ocampo, Consorcia Sanchez, BoCD Leadership, William Gibson, Shalom Agtarap, DS David Nieda, DS Erin Martin, PVPM Collaborators: and partners for our ongoing ministry: Drew Miller, Emily Rice, Trisha Fey Miller, Fredeliz Guerrero, Matt Cumings, my husband Erik Rush, Jocelyn Agpalo of the International Fil-Am Fellowship in Beaverton-Aloha-Hillsboro, Rita Schaljo (leading us to “Let There Be Peace on Earth” at our Prayer Vigil), Alma Quanesisouk Trinidad, Cecelia Towner, Vancouver First UMC, my home church in Vancouver, the present staff of Jon Short, Casey Banks and the past staff, Gabriela Portland, Portland Committee for Human Rights in The Philippines (PCHRP), NAFCON (National Alliance of Filipino Concerns), Anakbayan Portland, KBKN (Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network) POPS (People Organizing for Philippine Solidarity), SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and BLMV (Black Lives Matter in Vancouver). With all the self-determination and strong commitment to “serve the people”.
Matthew 25:40: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“Our faith will continue to grow when we believe in the mystery that our Creator is mightier than any of us.” -Pastor Lyn Rush