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Lenten Reflections: Joyfully Walking in the Transformational Light

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Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa's Youth League lead 500 Lutherans in joyful praise at a regional conference in 2009. Photo by Kate Hagen.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during Lent, we offer reflections from Bread staff and others who faithfully work to end hunger.

Lectionary readings (from the Revised Common Lectionary):
Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45
Jeremiah 30:12-22
John 12:36-43

“O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.”—Psalm 105:1-4

During the summer of 2009, 500 people praised God in a unified voice. The power of singing with our whole being brought an energy I’d never experienced before. We sang praises in Zulu in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The Youth League of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa (ELCSA) warmly welcomed me to this four-day conference of praising God, growing spiritually, and sharing God’s good news with each other. Actually, "warmly welcomed" is an understatement. When I forgot padding to sleep on, women insistently made up my bed with their blankets. They searched me out to encourage me to eat with the esteemed guests and leadership. Bishop Buthelezi asked me to give the Youth League words of greetings from my sponsoring church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

I tried to blend in, which was impossible since I was the only white person and I spoke with an American accent. Yet, skin color began to fade away in this post-apartheid gathering of South Africans as I learned that blending in means loving everyone I come across and singing praises fully with my mind, body, and spirit.

My brothers and sisters of ELCSA blessed me with a gift — they taught me the gift of purely praising God surrounded with my faithful family.

Imagining myself back among God’s people at an ELCSA conference singing “Walk in the Light” causes me to well up with tears of joy. The Holy Spirit chills I so often felt during worship naturally come back.

These are the same chills I experience when I witness reconciling God’s love all over this world. I am in awe of how God’s love transforms God’s family to reach out to one another, not with prejudice and injustice, but with rich hope and joy.

Kate-hagenKate Hagen is the Hunger Report Project Assistant. Read her conclusion for this year's Hunger Report.

 

+Read all of our Lent reflections.

 

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