I have a new grandson. He appears to be on what we around here affectionately call “Esperanza Time” because he arrived two weeks late. In a place that boasts 300 days of sunshine a year, he, and his big brother were both born on days with thunderstorms. We think we might call them “Sons of Thunder.”
It is the nickname that Jesus gave to James and John, the sons of Zebedee in the gospel of Mark. No explanation is given for the name, although some point to a different story in Luke in which the brothers ask Jesus if he wants them to call fire from heaven to destroy an inhospitable village. It seems like a bit of a reach, maybe they were born on stormy days too. I’s like to think the nickname indicated that James and John were men of action.
This week, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate to young women of action. Heidi Gerrish has completed a year in Uruguay with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. Julie Gerrish will be commissioned to begin her year with YAGM in Senegal.
Young Adults in Global Mission is for those 21-29 desiring an experience in international service while at the same time engaging in personal reflection and discernment about their own sense of identity and place in God’s work in the world.
If the word, missionary conjures up images of bible thumping do-gooders traveling the globe to, either gently or by force convert the heathen to Christianity, think again. The failed model of mission that tended to be an arm of European colonialism, YAGM’s model of mission is accompaniment. It is being with global partners, experiencing life as they experience it, engaging in mutual hospitality while assisting with such things as education, public health, human rights and advocacy for women and children. The program gives young adults the opportunity to examine issues such as economic and racial injustice through the lens of faith.
Daughters of Thunder? If you know the Gerrish’s, probably not (although I understand Heidi can be hellacious on the Roller Derby Rink) but forces of nature? Absolutely! Join us Sunday at 8:30 or 10:30.
Here is a quote from Alsatian physician, theologian, organist and medical missionary Albert Schweitzer:
Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.