The Mamas Lead the Way

main image

We have been visiting St. Frumentius Anglican Theological College in Gambella, Ethiopia, in the southwestern part of the country near the South Sudanese border. This new school was founded by Bishop Grant and Wendy LeMarquand, who visited the diocese several years ago. It is a region that has received 400,000 refugees from across that border in recent years, and one still sees numerous UN vehicles. As a result, tribes that have been traditional rivals live cheek to jowl.

As a result, the school has to teach more than just the usual historical, theological, and Biblical topics. It has has to prepare students to be witnesses and leaders in inter- tribal reconciliation. This is not extraneous to the Gospel, nor is it so far from our own context.

The late afternoon we arrived there was a church potluck, African-style for members of the Mothers' Union from two tribes in conflict. When it was done they walked home to their respective parts of the town singing. They could do so because they shared a deeper identity in Jesus Christ. It may seem like a normal thing, but actually brave and ground breaking. It was not the first time the Mothers' Union have been the evangelists and the forerunners for Christ’s peace. It made me realize what a great setting the college is for theological teaching and learning.




Complete the Race (II Timothy 4:17)

At the end of our vacation we find ourselves in Chicago for its Marathon weekend (the fastest, I have read this morning, perhaps because it is cool and relatively level). Marathons offer many good things. You can see world-class athletes from places like Ethiopia and Kenya. There is a feel of fiesta with signs by family members, getups by some for-fun runners, and food for sale.

But as I looked out my hotel window at 7:30 a.m., I watched the race of competitors who have lost legs or their use. Wheeling vehicles by arm for 26 miles means serious fitness and determination.

Those competitors were to me, this morning, a symbol of the Church too. For each is wounded. The larger family cheers them on. Each by grace has risen up to run the race. Ahead is the goal, the prize, the welcome home. We find the companionship of Jesus the Lord, there, and along the route too.