Missionary Stories

How the Light Gets In

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen

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In Response to Fear

Egypt_ME_Trip_-_Gilbert.JPG“Terrorism has no religion; it has no homeland.”
-Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, CEOSS General Director

I had the pleasure of visiting St. Mark’s Cathedral a few months ago with members of a delegation from Global Ministries, Week of Compassion, and One Great Hour of Sharing. The grounds of St. Mark’s house the offices of BLESS (the Coptic Orthodox Church Bishopric of Public, Ecumenical and Social Services), the Coptic Orthodox counterpart to CEOSS.

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Relics

Cairo is full of relics. From the bones and possessions of saints and miracle workers to a cave that is believed to have housed the holy family as they fled to Egypt to avoid the wrath of king Herod. In my time here, I have had the opportunity to drink from a source that is thought to have nourished Jesus in his infancy, and held the chains and shackles of martyrs. However, these are not the relics that motivate or inform my daily work.

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Disconnect to Connect

Three weeks ago, I had the misfortune of misplacing my phone on a micro bus. While not common, this is by no means an unheard of situation in the chaotic world of Cairo public transportation. After a few days of mourning my pocket sized computer that organized my life, the silver linings surpassed the size of the storm cloud quickly.

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There is No Way to Peace, Peace is the Way

December 4, 2016

St. Andrews Scots Memorial Church

Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12

“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots…and the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them” says the prophet Isaiah on this second Sunday in Advent, Peace Sunday.

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A Future Not Our Own

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Psalm 85:10

When I lose heart, this quote attributed to Oscar Romero reminds me that God may be trusted to bring the fullness of God's realm, and charges me to not neglect my share in "the magnificent enterprise."


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Find What You Have Lost

It was our first day of school and we were so excited and nervous we didn’t even turn the radio on during that two hour ride from our home in Western Massachusetts to Boston. It was one of those clear cool crisp early fall New England days---sky a perfect blue, still warm but you needed a sweater

We were both anxious. I was worried I was too old to study again. I hadn’t written a paper in over 20 years; not to mention maybe God had made mistake and called the wrong person. 

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Call to the Table

God of our grandmothers and mothers,

of Eve and Sarah, Miriam and Hanna,

Mary and Martha, Mother Mary and Mary

of Magdala, of Lois and Eunice

we come to your table today,

World Communion Sunday

in this season of repentance

   of leaves turning colors

  of pomegranates bursting with seeds

to celebrate your love poured out for us

our trust rekindled

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Rich Towards God: Bless, Break, and Give Away

Rich Towards God: Bless, Break, and Give Away
Luke 12:13-21

Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church
Jerusalem

Israel-Palestine_-_McGrail_Aug_2016_pic.JPGThe Bible starts with a liturgy of abundance says theologian Walter Brueggemann. Genesis 1 is a song of praise for God’s generosity. God blesses and endows. All is good. All is good. Even in the desert God’s love comes down as manna, a gift of heaven, a miracle feeding. Everyone had enough until some started to hoard. Later in the Gospel story about loaves and fishes, Jesus too performed a miracle feeding; he blessed, broke, and gave the bread away. 5,000 were fed and 12 baskets left over. More than enough. All was good. Jesus that “brown-skinned Palestinian Jew”, as Rev. Barber referred to him the other night at the Democratic National Convention came for the hungry, the poor, the sick, the widow, the orphan, and all unacceptable or marginalized others. He came to remind us of about our origins and original blessing of goodness and abundance. That first Eucharist of loaves and fishes is the model we are called to participate in as receivers and as givers: bless, break, and give away. This is sacramental living; for all is God’s and all is to be shared.

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One Broken Camera

Shuhada kindergarten may be one of the most vulnerable schools in Hebron. The school sits halfway to the crest of Tel Rumeda, the oldest site in Hebron, Palestine, where pottery shards dating to 3,500 BC have been found. Just fifty meters behind the school lies a community of Israeli settlers who employ harassment and violence to pry from the hands of Palestinian owners as many homes and as much of the land as possible. To protect the settlers, a fortress of more than a dozen Israeli military checkpoints, guard towers and mobile military bases ring the settlement and the school. Razor wire is everywhere. It lines the school’s chain-link fence and is almost invisible in the tangled weeds and brush through which the children, their parents and teachers walk to and from the school.

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