Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Body of Christ

Pastor Benyam Kassahun works at ELCA Churchwide office Global Mission Unit as Program Director for Southern & Eastern Africa Regions. We are honored to have him come to Ascension all the way from Chicago and share his extensive experiences in Africa. He is passionate and articulate. I encourage you to come and check him out at either 9:30 or 11am in the library. Here are some thoughts that he wrote down for the blog:

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Rom. 12:5)

What does this mean for Christians, in particular, for those of us who claim to be Lutheran in a world stricken by disease, conflict and hunger? What does God call us to do?

Over the past several years, I traveled through West, East, and Southern Africa region to do my work as assigned to me by the Global Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I had several conversations with women, men, and children who were severely impacted by diseases such as malaria, HIV & AIDS, T.B. and hunger (malnutrition). I knew some of them would not be alive during my next trip to their villages. Deep down in my heart, however, I knew that with some intervention many of those women and children could have lived.

I remember a woman I once met in Mozambique. I arrived at her place at about 6:30 P.M. She was lying on a small mat outside of her hut. She was approximately somewhere between 23-25 years old. But she looked like a 13 year old child. Someone from her family came and helped her to sit up. She had difficulty talking because of her severe cough. She was HIV positive (she had no choice there), she has T.B. and malaria. To make matters worse, she only ate a small bowl of porridge that morning. That was her meal for the day. She was so frail she couldn’t continue our conversation—she kept quiet for a few minutes—finally, she lay down on her mat.

If we are the body if Christ, and individually members one of another, therefore, the body of Christ is HIV+, inflicted by malaria, T.B., and poverty in general. The question is what does this mean? What does it mean to be Lutheran Christians?

Benyam Kassahun

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