A few weeks ago a number of women from our congregation worked on a mission project, producing beautiful dresses for women and girls in the country of Liberia. Many countries of the continent of Africa face a myriad of challenges. Disease, war, hunger, lack of clean water, and other difficulties are prevalent.
In Liberia, the unemployment rate is 85%. One of my former students who served as missionary in Liberia for 2 years, teaching biology to teenagers, says that most of her students were either former child soldiers or victims of sex trafficking. And yet, the people of Liberia stretch toward hope. And now, as packages of dresses are opened, these bright colors from Clemson will bring signs of hope and solidarity from the other side of the world to the people of Liberia. I envision great delight as girls and women take possession of the dresses our church family produced. And once again God will take the ordinary stuff of the world like fabric, buttons, and thread, and bring a sign of hope to a place that struggles.
But we also know that such signs of hope are needed here in Clemson, too. Indeed, that’s one of the great vocations of the church: to serve as a sign of God’s presence to a community where many of us struggle with our own issues and challenges. The church stands as a bright light of God’s love and presence, opening our doors to all people even while preaching and living a message of God’s inclusive love that is, indeed, transforming the world. We take ordinary things, too, like bread and the cup. And they become bright lights of God’s love as they are shared in God’s name. And just as the people of Liberia are reminded of the love of God and the love of others in the simplicity of a dress, so are we reminded of God’s love and the love of one another in the simplicity of the church gathered for worship and fellowship.
Our vocation as a congregation is to SHINE BRIGHTLY with God’s love! We are the bright dresses of hope in this community. So let us continue our journey through Lent praying for God to be at work in all that we do as Clemson United Methodist Church so that the world will be filled with more hope, more love, and more grace as we live together as children of the God of light.
Thanks be to God.
From The Disciple’s Connection | March 2013