Monday, January 07, 2008

Springs of Life, Kibera, Kenya - Pr. Meeker celebrates Communion Amidst the Burned Out Church

The Lord Jesus Christ blessed the saints of Springs of Life in Kibera, Kenya with His true presence. The body and blood of Jesus brought forgiveness and comfort in the midst of the suffering and pain of the post-election riots.

Pastor Dennis Meeker and the congregation went forward with services this past Sunday. In a phone conversation with Pastor, last night, he said, "We were so thankful that things calmed down enough so that the gospel was proclaimed in its fullness. We have God's promises that He will take care of us and we will be here among the people who need us and the Gospel."

Having worshipped and preached in this church the last two years, I was excited to see members kneeling before the altar of God, giving thanks and receiving the grace of God in the sacramental life. The services at Springs of Life are in Swahili. When I preached there, it was with the help an interpreter.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism...

Now you might think, "If the service was in Swahili, how could Sell know what was going on during the service?" One of the great blessings and wisdom of the "one, holy, Christian (catholic) and apostolic church" is that the word and sacramental life creates one body. We are one, whether we receive the body and blood and the Word in English or Swahili; in French or German; our unity throughout heaven and earth is sealed in the body of Christ.

The Lord's Supper was celebrated beneath the charred cross that hung on the soot stained wall in the sanctuary. Just as we know "from dust we came to dust we shall return," our Lord is is able to create something from nothing. Our Lord was raised from the dead, and we too shall enjoy the fruits of our baptism when we will rise from the dust of the grave.

In the midst of the sinful realities of this world and the apparent poverty and hellish odor from the fire, the people of God celebrated victory over sin, death, and the devil. The victory of our Lord is ours by faith in His work.

Calm Returning in Nairobi

Even though some trouble breaks out in pockets around the country, the authorities and the military were able to restore order. Kenyans were able to worship, go to market, and return to their homes.

In the phone conversation with Pastor Meeker and Dcns. Lorna last night, Dcns. told me that they had well over forty people staying at the ELCK GuestHouse. They were there to stay safe from trouble in their community. She said that the women and children first came to the GuestHouse when trouble hit their community on the opposite side of town from the Meekers. The husbands stayed behind to try and defend their homes, but, eventually they too sought the sanctuary of the GuestHouse.

The good news is that today, they will all return to their homes. Things have settled enough and they are eager to begin cleaning up and rebuilding.

One Body of Christ Throughout the Whole World - Lutherans are Making a Difference!

As we are one in Christ throughout the whole world, I pray that those of us who enjoy such an orderly existence in the States and elsewhere will take this opportunity to help.

Friends of Mercy regularly travels to Kenya through our Faith & Mercy Expeditions. They are named such because scripture clearly teaches that faith and mercy go together. For Christians, faith does not exist apart from love. We love God by loving others. As you continue to keep the Kenyans in your prayers, I would call upon you to share your blessings with them.

Matching Grant - Your Gift to Friends of Mercy Doubles

When you give to us to help Pastor Meeker and his congregation, your gift is doubled. This is a great stewardship opportunity. If you are a Thrivent member, your gift, up to $600, will triple after applying matching funds.

Click here to donate.
Click here to automatically download the Thrivent form.

"If one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together." I Corinthians 12:26

Peace be with you.