Sister Michelle Collins received a 50th Anniversary Scholarship Grant to travel to Jamaica in September. Read along with her experience!
Today’s word was ‘sacrifice,’ and our conversation over breakfast circulated again around Phil. 2. My reflection is that acts of sacrifice are important…adopting kids, selling everything to move overseas, living on one income to spend more time volunteering, etc. yes…perhaps we should do that more often as Christians. But what struck me from the text is that it says, “your ATTITUDE should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing..” More than acts of sacrifice, I think scripture calls for attitudes of sacrifice. And that doesn’t have to mean big things. That can mean letting someone have the last word in a discussion. It can mean being patient with interruptions to the schedule. It can mean consistently putting others before yourself. That will probably lead to some acts…but it starts with attitude.
Our first stop this morning was a community preschool. We got there just as they were eating, so waited until they were done before going in to their classrooms. Oh…my…goodness. So cute. So fun. It didn’t take long for me to be sitting on the floor surrounded by a bunch of little kids jabbering in an English I didn’t really understand as I read stories to them. And sure enough, in the Dora the Explorer story, they all joined me in saying, “Swiper, no swiping!” And sure enough, the girls waned to play with my hair. I honestly could have been there all day. Sitting on the floor reading stories to a bunch of little kids is not sacrifice for me…that’s life-giving. So cute.
From there we drove up the mountain to Charles Town, which is a Maroon village. Maybe I’ve heard of Maroons, but I really didn’t know their story…at all. Maroons are a group of Africans who were brought over from Ghana as slaves but refused to be slaves, so escaped and rebelled, and eventually became a sovereign people. So now their descendants live in these communities committed to maintaining their history. And they gather once a year in Charles Town for a celebration that is held in the “Sufya Yard,” which is like their community center. The drawings on the side of the wall of the Sufya yard tell the story of their people–everything from the crowded slave ships with the ladder that was only used when death was the next step to the hunting dogs the British would use to try to find those who had run away.
They had a really interesting museum, and the lady giving us a tour was great. They fed us, played music for us, and sold us their crafts.
The whole thing was really interesting, but made me feel really bad for being British and white. Gosh white people have done some awful things. And I wonder where or when we remember our history so as not to repeat it. The Maroons, and other groups of people who have experienced incredible oppression, are really committed to preserving their history so that the next generation understands where they’ve come from. But do we as white people tell the story of our role in slavery…the way we treated other groups of people…so as to ensure that our descendants don’t repeat it? In the church particularly, we know we have pieces of history that we are not proud of. So how do we make sure our future will truly be different than our past?
After Charles Town, a “just up the hill” drive to find some genuine Blue Mountain coffee became a 45 minute drive up one lane roads that zigged and zagged up the mountain.
Eventually we found a tourist stop that sold over-priced coffee beans and was just about to close down for the day. So we bought some…because we sort of had to after the journey to get there. The scenery was beautiful, that’s for sure. I forgot how much I like mountain views!
On the way back down the mountain we had to stop and take a picture of coffee trees growing along the side of the road. For the coffee fanatic in me, it was pretty cool.
Supper was at the same place we ate at last night, but conversation was a lot more dense without the weight of hole-digging in our muscles. I was really tired, and couldn’t get a word in, so zoned out a bit. But the pastors seem to really be getting into the discussions.
So again I feel like this word “sacrifice” is one I’ve been wrestling with for a long time already. Maybe I don’t live as radically as I could, but I would hope that the attitude described in Phil. 2 shows up in how I do live.
Tomorrow we go to ‘the infirmary,’ a children’s hospital for kids who are cast away…special needs, etc. I’m not sure what our word is. Hard to believe after tomorrow we go home.