Today was a special day at St. Etienne Cathedral–at least for me.  It was the Feast of Pentecost, and there were many languages, cultures and backgrounds represented.  I also preached one service with a translator, testament to my lack of the ability to speak in the needed tongue of the hour.  But it was only a deeper reminder of Pentecost’s importance in the life and mission of the church.

Today was also the first time that Dan Hanlon (ordained to the priesthood on May 5) served as Celebrant, and to be here for that was a unique joy.  Standing to Daniel’s right, I received the bread and cup as he led at table for the first time in his ministry.  It took me back to days at Redeemer when those tables were turned and he was taking some early steps in his journey toward ordained ministry. I’m really glad I was here to participate. Pastor Sam Mugisha (recently a visitor to Redeemer) led the services, one in English and the other in Kinyarwanda.

Preaching to people I don’t really know is not my style–I’m not a ‘conference speaker’ type of preacher, as context is so important to how I communicate.  But its clear that the journey we’ve been on has helped to build recognition and relationship between Redeemer and our brothers and sisters in Rwanda.  People were very welcoming and receptive during the five-and-one-half-hours that we were in worship today at St. Etienne’s Cathedral, and its not even our main contact point in the country.

A special treat was meeting an old friend–the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Sausele who is in Rwanda leading human rights students from Webster University in St. Louis where she teaches.  Elizabeth was in the English service today.  I didn’t expect to see her, and she certainly didn’t expect to show up in Rwanda and hear me preach.  It’s good to meet on the road!

After church we met up with Dan, Kari, Josiah, as well as Renjie and Heather Abraham for a brunch at the Hanlons’ house.  I’m so grateful for the time of laughter, conversation and mutual encouragement.  Today the rest of our team leaves Chicago, so keep them in your prayers as you read this blog.

The sun is now down, and lights have come on across the city, poised for the start of another week.