I am in Rwanda only a few days, really, so the time has been very full. I spent a day in Kigali, connecting with those coming in from out of town at the Guest House there. One of those is Fr. Gerry Schnackenberg, the priest from Colorado under whose ministry I was ordained and served as Associate Pastor. Gerry is a truly contagious Christian who shares his life and love for the Lord very openly to others. It has been good to be with him and be reminded of his important mentoring in my own pastoral journey. None of us grows alone, and we pick up things from others as we know them and love them. This is why community is vital, because without it we actually don’t grow, but remain our selves.
For two days now I have been in Ruhengeri, staying at the Guest House next to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a glorious building with its own organic ‘feel’, that seems to come right out of the place on which it stands. Some buildings seem forced, this one emerges.
Of course, I had to visit Sonrise School, and it was wonderful to be recognized, to be called by name, and to be known there. I was invited to speak to the teachers and the students separately, as I encouraged them in their work and shared something from Luke 8–Jesus’ parable of the Sower, or perhaps it should be called the Parable of the Soils.
Sonrise School has recently started a school garden, which coincides with our own plans to begin a garden at Church of the Redeemer…so it was good to be able to bring these two gardens, thousands of miles apart, together in one conversation. And to consider how our lives reflect the work of the gardener and the soil that is found and that must be worked and tilled.
As I preached to the Sonrise students in the chapel the photo from Church of the Redeemer was on the wall behind me. What an experience to see all of us in that place, looking down upon the children. I was aware of the prayers of our church for my visit and for the school, even as I stood between the students and the photo of Redeemer, lives facing each other. It was a powerful metaphor and true.
Tomorrow is the consecration. It is expected to be a magnificent affair (probably 5 hours long) with many in attendance. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to write more on that before I head back home Monday. Peace to you.