“You must be born again….” I heard these words, and balked. They came as thoughts, but I sensed deeply they were thoughts from God. “But I am born again, aren’t I?” I protested.. Again, the words penetrated to the deepest center of my being, “You must be born again…there’s a church for you on Flatbush Avenue.”
The next day, I walked the four blocks up to Flatbush & Foster Avenues. Looking left and then right, my gaze fastened upon a large cross hanging in front of a storefront church. It was a classic sign. The words on the cross read, “JESUS SAVES.” I approached the front of the church, and there was a telephone number to call. Later that day, I called, and a woman with a heavy Jamaican accent answered the phone. I asked when the next service was, and she said that in two days there would be a children’s play - not a real service mind you - but a family night when Christ’s birth would be celebrated.
Two nights later, I arrived and the lights were dim as the play had already begun. As I sat down, one of the old women of the church nodded hello to me, and patted my arm. “Jesus is love,” she said, repeating the words two or three times to me as the play proceeded. Her name was Sister Duncan, and her words were so reassuring, so kind, and so comforting. After the play, the congregation sang a few praise songs and hymns, and, at the pastor’s suggestion, the evangelist who was leading the singing had an altar call. Because I was partially obscured by a pillar, neither the pastor nor the song leader even knew I was in the room.
“너는 거듭나야 한다…” 이 음성을 분명히 들었지만 저는 주춤했습니다. 그저 머릿속에 떠오른 생각으로 보일 수 있으나 저는 이 말씀이 하나님으로부터 온 것임을 느낄 수 있었습니다. “저는 벌써 거듭난 걸요!” 저는 저항했지만 그 말씀은 계속 제 마음 깊숙이 파고들었습니다. “너는 거듭나야 한다. 플랫부시 애비뉴에 너를 위한 교회가 있을 거야.”
다음날, 저는 플랫부시 & 포스터 애비뉴까지 네 블록을 걸어갔습니다. 좌우를 살펴보니 한 교회 앞에 걸려있는 큰 십자가가 제 눈에 들어왔습니다. 십자가에는 “예수님께서 우리를 구원하셨습니다”라고 쓰여있었습니다. 저는 교회 앞까지 다가갔고 그곳에는 연락처가 적혀 있었습니다. 그날 오후 저는 전화를 걸었고 자메이카 엑센트가 있는 한 여성이 전화를 받았습니다. 저는 다음 예배가 언제 있는지를 물었고 그녀는 예배는 아니지만 이틀 후 그리스도의 탄생을 축하하는 아동극이 준비되어 있다고 말했습니다. <계속>
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