We are back in Moshi after our three days with our sister congregation in Mudio. We had an amazing experience, put quite simply, being the church together.
In my sermon on Sunday I shared the text from Luke 5. Early in Jesus’ ministry, he is questioned as to why he is doing things differently than the established religious practices. He replies with a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old.”
Jesus’ point is that he understands himself as the Messiah and therefore everything is different. It is a new day and when we let him into our hearts we do things a new way. Jesus later will teach that the new way is to die to ourselves and to serve others.
What is apparent to me is that our brothers and sisters in Mudio understand this well. This weekend we celebrated on Sunday, and dedicated on Monday, the new Sewing Center that Sheridan helped to fund. The Sewing Center will serve classes of 12 girls who will be trained to have a marketable skill. This will give them independence and allow them to control their own future, rather than depending solely on their parents or a husband. Even more, this center will be open to any woman in the region – member of Mudio Lutheran or not, Muslim or Christian. They see this as a way in which the church can provide care for women in their area.
This entire venture is an exercise in unconditional love and care for the community. Personally, I could not feel more proud of our Mudio church leaders. Equally, we at Sheridan should feel fulfilled by our small part we have had in helping fund this venture and make it happen.
Beyond this, and having now been to Mudio five times in six years, I can honestly say that I sense a change in our relationship. I think we can now say that our identity as caregivers in the name of Jesus has been sewn together. We give to empower their giving. They reach out, with so much less than we have, and they then inspire us to serve our community more generously.
I have tried to make it clear over the years, that ours is a spiritual partnership. By the grace of God, we have become one. It is with the love of Jesus that we are sewn together. To God be the glory in both communities.