Alyssa Cable is a 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pa. currently in her junior year Eastern Mennonite University majoring in Elementary Education. Mennonite Church USA is a big part of Alyssa’s heart and she is so excited to be blogging about Convention. She loves writing, playing guitar and piano, and laughing. She is a member of a team of bloggers writing and reflecting each week on the convention theme.
Two days. Two days until I leave the country for the first time. Two days until my brand-spankin’-new, hot-off-the-press passport gets stamped. Two days until my eyes are opened to experiences that the United States cannot offer me. Two days until I embark on a journey that cannot be explained. A good friend of mine once gave well wishes to our mutual traveler friend, “Good luck trying to explain the unexplainable.” Traveling opens up experiences that no one else can understand unless they were there with you. Traveling impacts both the traveler and the places traveled. Traveling involves holding on to those ties of citizenship, while loosening those strings in order to be present in the location.
Our theme for Convention 2013 is “Citizens of God’s Kingdom: Healed in Hope”. The idea of citizenship brings about topics of loyalty, access, belonging, and representation. For once, I will be in a place that doesn’t belong to me, and that isn’t mine. A place that I know next to nothing about, can barely relate too, and can hardly communicate with. A location that could be dangerous, crowded, and even has a completely different climate. I will be a visitor in a foreign country, but more importantly, I will be a foreigner. I don’t belong where I’m going and I probably never will.
But what does it mean to belong somewhere? I belong to my parents, Mark and Wendy. I belong to my sisters, Abby and Andie. I belong to my hometown, Davidsville, PA. I belong to my university, Eastern Mennonite. I belong to my music, and the words I write to fill pages belong to me. I belong to the summer camp where I have spent innumerable summers. Sometimes I feel like I belong in too many places and spaces, and I feel as if my belonging pie chart is divided up into super tiny slices of me. But that also allows me to represent all of those places! I am automatically an ambassador for each of those tiny slices in my pie chart belonging.
We all belong to different things, different places, and different spaces.
At convention, we are all coming together from the different things and places we belong too to worship the same God that we serve together. We become one body belonging to Christ, living in unity. We represent those places and spaces. We are ambassadors for our cultures, our languages, our families, and our cities. Through this unified belonging, we become one, and we become healed in hope. And in that hope is where our true citizenship lies: Citizens of God’s Kingdom.