So Homer Hulbert, had a huge influence in the church in Korea. I'm listening to some of his story, and reviewing the quote form him that was engraved on his tombstone, 'I would rather be buried in Korea than in Westminster Abbey'.
That made me reflect on a few things. Firstly that the church in the past sent its best people with great investment for mission, and are we doing that today in the UK post Christian mission context we face?
Secondly that this quote is a contrast to my consumer context where everyone wants to move to somewhere, like a holiday location. The gospel invites us in Jer 29 to invest our relationships, work and homes for the welfare of others, where they are.
Given the prestige of who is buried at Westminster Abbey, what a profound statement. Could I say the same, 'I would rather be buried in Sutton, London than Westminster Abbey (or some other wonderful place)'.
This also reminds me of the end of the most amazing book Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. The end of that book haunts me and moves me every time I read it. It makes me think about the investment I make where God has called me to be, not where I want to escape to. It makes me think, that the most difficult place, within service of Jesus and his Kingdom, means that Golgotha is the place we are called to seek to go to and die.
At the end of Gilead, the main character having journaled his life and story in a small town, that most people want to escape from (including him at many times), knowing that death is close at hand says this:
'I love this town. I think sometimes of going into the ground here as a last wild gesture of love - I too will smoulder away the time until the great and general incandescence'.