Allotted Periods and Boundaries
In my teenage years, in the late evening I would walk along the large irrigation ditch that runs along 2nd street in the North Valley. During my starlit strolls, I would wonder why was I born in Albuquerque. Wrestling with Albuquerque being my place of existence was difficult. Why Albuquerque? Why the Sandia Mountains? Why the Rio Grande River? Why this brown desert wasteland? Why this ditch filled with brown water? Why not Paris, New York, Beijing, or Hawaii? I would shout into the void, “Come on! Seriously? Why this place?”
A few days ago, I reread Acts 17. In the middle of Paul's message to the Athenians, he makes a statement that goes something like this,
“And he (God) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
There is tension between this passage and my nomadic desire to be elsewhere. I don’t want anything to be determined or concluded for me. I don’t want to be confined by boundaries. I want more than my allotted share of whatever is being rationed.
Maybe Paul is telling the truth when he says that there is a reason for determined allotments and boundaries for the place we call home. He reasons, “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
Like a teenager walking the ditches of the North Valley, lately, I’ve been wondering about the current era and location of North Church. Five years ago, we were located in Nob Hill—why are we here now? San Mateo and Montgomery is a strange place. As I've wondered, I have walked up and down the streets of our allotted boundaries. I walked to Movies 8 and past the building that used to be ITZ, past Walgreens and the House of Pho, and all the way up to Putt-Putt Golf.
As a church, we are the body of Christ. North, we are the light of the world. We point people to Christ and we want to be praying for them. Praying for the House of Pho. Praying for the Albuquerque Police officer who was shot last year in our parking lot. Praying for the natives who sleep in our parking lot between bushes. Praying for the passerbys. Praying for the students of Del Norte. Praying the Chic-Fil-A sandwich would somehow become even more delicious. Praying that more of Albuquerque would feel their way toward him and find him. Praying that we would find him in our allotted period and boundaries.