This is Sunday. We walked the half mile to Light of Hope. It had been two years since my first visit, and the changes have been amazing. To see what Messiah Church and others have accomplished in just two years was an emotional moment for me. There are now 66 girls who attend school. 46 of them live at LOH. 20 come from the surrounding area and return home each night, some walking for miles. These day scholars will bring impact on the community around LOH. We hope to have a video ready to send back for worship next Sunday.
The girls led our worship this morning – such spirited singing and powerful praying. How our worship would be transformed if they were in our midst! In the afternoon, a new classroom building was dedicated – though a couple of hours sitting in the hot sun just miles from the equator almost did us in. Our Minnesota complexions now have a red tint.
Over lunch, I had a conversation with three Kenyan women from Nairobi who spend a Sunday at LOH every couple of months. The offer encouragement and hope while giving the girls the opportunity to interact with women who have successful careers. I asked how attached they have become with the girls. We began talking about the importance of touch and how giving hugs could be the most significant gift they offer. When we arrived this morning, the girls gathered around us – many of them remembered me, though I must admit I had not remembered. The gentle smile of a recognition can melt this heart. They quietly spoke their names and several found a lap on which to sit. And later as I read today’s scripture from Luke 8, I heard the gospel’s message about the power of touch. All it took was a woman reaching out to touch Jesus and Jesus touching those who came close.
Today’s readings: Genesis 20-22; Luke 8
In the story of Abraham and Isaac, I see at least two perspectives. The first comes in focusing on Abraham. After all of Abraham’s missteps and lack of listening to God, here is a test. It is a difficult, unreasonable request – to sacrifice his one and only son. It would be a test that God would face with Jesus on the cross. Would God intervene to save Jesus as God did with Abraham?
The second comes when we focus on Isaac. What must Isaac’s perspective have been? How could his father put him at such risk? What impact would this event have on Isaac? Jesus would be called “the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”