While the Imam’s call to prayer sounded earlier just below my full consciousness, it was the buzzing of a thick-bodied Wood Boring Bee that finally awakened me and ushered me into the various morning sounds of Marsabit—bird songs, cock crows, the wind in the trees outside my window, a faint voice or two from the town in the distance, and the ringing of the church bell. Six o’clock. I get up and freshen myself, make a cup of instant coffee and say Morning Prayer in the quietness of the house. How I’ve missed this time alone with You, Lord, this past week [while at GAFCON].
Now after a pleasant breakfast with Bishop Rob, his wife, Sue, and Allison, I sit out on their porch enjoying the garden and the cool late morning breeze and scrawl a few sentences in this journal. A white breasted Pie Crow caws from a tall thin-leafed tree where I notice a nest in the upper branches and a slightly moving head of a mother bird apparently brooding over her eggs or young. Is this emblematic of Your Holy Spirit this morning brooding over us—I wonder? The red bougainvillea beside the yellow-green flax, the cane brake, and the purple and white Inpatients against the red earth might just as well be the Southwestern United States—but, “No”, I tell myself, “this is Northern Kenya” and the tall, colorfully beaded women I saw yesterday at worship in
Archers Post Anglican Church, stunning in their vibrant song and dance; the six various tribes and tongues represented in the small yet crowded church; the young African children delighting in our presence and reaching out their hands to greet us—even laughing as Allison put her white arm parallel with their black ones; the long arduous drive on the dirt road, the Land Rover jostling us about for hours; the herds of sheep, cattle and camels we passed along the way with the young African boys shepherding them, and the occasional warrior in colorful fabrics and feathers, dramatic against their lean bare black shoulders and chests, walking in stately stride with their weapon of choice at their side; all somewhat dream-like in my memory, yet calling me back to gratitude and prayer.
Gratitude to You for Your great love for us, Your people; gratitude for those missionaries who at great sacrifice brought the gospel to this land and these peoples—in their language; gratitude for the beauty of this place—this green island of Marsabit surrounded by the stark arid expanse of desert and savannah and the gift of being here on behalf of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Jacque Ellul’s phrase that as Christians we should “Think globally and act locally” has never seemed more relevant or true. So too with John Wesley’s words, “The World is my Parish” and the equally valid phrase which is surely true of a parish priest such as George Herbert, “The Parish is my World”—keep these three axioms in creative tension and the Christian leader will do well. My prayer, Lord, is that these will be descriptive of me and for those I serve in South Carolina. Bless, Oh Lord, both of these lands and peoples, so different and yet so dear.