I have a dear faith sister who is serving in Sierra Leone on mission for the ELCA.
When first I met her she was serving a big steeple church in Lancaster, PA. She was ground for that church and willing enough to be a resident of Pennsylvania and yet there was a yen in her that would not be stilled. She felt the tug of a land and people she had experienced years before.
So she is there now. Serving the movement of Jesus in a place far from her roots. Learning the ways of life apart from rhythms and ways of being that mark the seasons of a parish pastor in the States.
It is her first Holy Week there. Serving in a liason role without a parish to guide, she is guest and participant but she does not set the table for worship. She wrote to we who are her clergy sisters and asked that we might send her our sermons and the thoughts we are sharing with our communities. It would help, she told us, to feel across the many miles some semblance of being enfolded in the story as she is used to feeling it unfold.
It is the wee hours of morning here on Easter. In a few hours I will be in the midst of an Easter-seeking crowd of church folk, greedily gulping the sounds of timpani and organ. We will do what we do on Easter: greet each other with the shining joy of the resurrection, marvel at the beauty of our children, and throw our hearts into singing hope.
And across the world, the party will have already unfolded. With Kate in their midst. And that, perhaps, is one of the most powerful Easter witnesses of all. The disciples are enjoined in that long ago garden to “go and tell” the good news of the risen one.
My sister Kate is doing just that; in her powerful, grounded and Spirit filled way she is doing that. My prayer is that she knows the power of Christ holding her in the new, rolling back the stones of loneliness, breathing through her courage, blessing her witness, even as she will bless my own in the hours to come.
We carry the Christ. One to the other. We are the people of the Risen One.