It’s November 3, the day many of us traveled to Johannesburg. We are twelve and while not the originals, we are disciples. Jesus said, “Come, follow me” to the disciples and in the next chapter taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Mt 5:9a).
As called children of God, we arrived safely beginning the 2014 Presbyterian Peacemaking Program’s Travel Seminar to South Africa.
We have arrived as we are, in some ways a microcosm of our larger connectional church. And as we’ve begun to meet, talk and process, we begin to hear and see more clearly how these collective seminar experiences resonate with us uniquely as God speaks to and through us individually and collectively.
We have come with baggage. Now we did pack, and no one likes extra fees so we made decisions and used discernment, but we brought what we think we need.
Yet Christ, when sending out disciples, instructed them to take nothing but a staff, no extra clothes, no extra shoes, no laptop, ipad, cell phone, camera…just a staff…
We packed light but came with more than a staff. I wonder if the only way we lay down the baggage we carry is through community, though hearing, through speaking, through seeing more fully?
When we follow Christ we might find that we are bare, stripped naked, unable to hide from God or behind a staff, but we are drawn to the one who tells us we are fully known.
This seminar is a gift and an offering. The itinerary is posted here. We humbly offer some of the reflections that are resonating with us along the way, to share some of the voices we now carry with us ― to hear some of how we believe God is enabling us to love better, know God more fully, to serve more faithfully, and to see more fully.
We pray that it might be a blessing, that there might be healing in all the lands, and that in all things we would give God all glory and honor.
Will you join us in the journey? Will you join us in our reasonable act of worship?
Sabrina I. Slater of Spokane, Wash., is a senior M.Div. student at Princeton Theological Seminary. A native of Washington State, she is under the care of the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest. Prior to seminary, she was a student affairs administrator in higher education. She has interned with the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., and is currently serving on the planning committee for the next Presbyterian Women’s Church-wide Gathering.