Thursday March 24, 2011
You, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? Romans 2: 21-23
It was more than 100 degrees under the open-air roof at the overcrowded church in Kumba, Cameroon. Usually, no one was thrilled about the more than three hours of church ahead of us – sitting sticky-arm-to-sticky-arm with all the other church-goers and only four functioning fans. However, this day was different.
This was Youth Day and it only came once a year. On this day youth ran the entire service. After we all processed in marching and singing together and the normal routine of worship had begun, a 15 year old boy anxiously walked up to the alter to preach the Word. Not expecting anything stimulating to come from a small boy they saw every Sunday the adult congregation fished for their hidden snacks or looked around to see if their friends had arrived. But this boy caught their attention, bringing the heat even more than the African Sun.
This boy preached a message of authenticity, a message promoting honesty and truth. In his humble, small voice this boy delivered a booming, prophetic call challenging everyone in the congregation. He called out those living polygamous lifestyles, those selling their food for unfair prices at the market, and those who preached one message in church on Sunday and another through their lifestyle outside of the church.
In a culture where children do not to speak unless spoken to, do not to question their elders, and not to push the envelope; this boy let his truth – the truth he heard about but did not see lived out- shine through.
How do we humbly remind those around us about the importance of authenticity? How do we avoid compartmentalizing our church-selves from our work or home-selves? Are the young people in our lives questioning if our words and deeds match?
Mother God, Thank you for humbling moments that call us back to the importance of practicing what we preach. As Paul writes to the Romans, “It is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” Help us to be self-aware, open-minded and open-hearted in our relationships with others and with You. Remind us that sitting in the pew on Sunday is not enough. Amen.
Megan Cochran, a student at McCormick, enjoys riding her yellow bicycle and doing crafty things.