Serving in Solidarity with…

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Normally, I would be writing with lots of stories to share, but I would like to ask you to wait just a bit longer for them and engage in an advent/New Year is almost here reflection of sorts…

This is the question I am living with for 2016:

             “What does it mean to serve in solidarity with?”

The picture above was taken in 2013 at Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary.  The chalice we are holding was a gift I brought to the seminary that year.  Painted on the chalice is the image of a hull of a boat and a cross.  It is the symbol for Duke Divinity School, but not one they hold exclusively, for the symbol represents the Church at work in the world.  The gift was to symbolise a covenantal relationship established years ago between the two institutions and I am here in South Africa because that covenant is alive in me.

When I look at this picture of myself and Luba, the student holding the chalice, I am thankful for the gifts of opportunity that have brought me back to the seminary time and again, for I have been able to witness great leaders like Luba who will serve this country and this world that belongs to all of us well.  I am extremely passionate about work that rises up not just leaders, but great leaders and not just here, but all around the world!

This passion was birthed around the time the millennium development goals were released through the United Nations.  I was part of a young adult leadership program training us in how to work towards the goals that were set.  I was to work on Education and there was a guy from the Congo sitting next to me.  He has taught me so much over the years.  Yet, this would not have been possible without the work of that program in building a platform of trust between the two of us for he really hated Americans.  He had this way of expressing disgust in a french accent that still makes me laugh!

I have been reflecting on that time because I am learning so much here about the realities for pastors in South Africa.  It is a hard reality that there are pastors in South Africa who have so many congregations that they might see one of them only four times a year.   What does it mean for me to be in solidarity with them?  I want the sweat of these days I am here to live on the pages of my life and so I wanted to share with you how important it is for us to understand the long and sometimes laborious work of building trust.  My hope is that the pastors here will trust me with their stories and trust me to serve among them.

Trust was important enough to God that the skin of  life was taken on, in order that we might trust in the way that leads to life.

I hope you will reflect on the issue of TRUST this advent season and work to bridge the divides wherever you experience them.  It might be in your relationship with God, a family member, or one that crosses a divide that feels to you like an ocean.  What does it mean for us to serve with one another wherever we are in solidarity?  

With you on the journey,

Michelle

Donations towards my salary support can be made through the donations link on this blog.  

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