February 5, 2017
Text: Matthew 5:13-20
Jesus calls us to be agents of change. Salt catalyzes change from the inside and light re-orients perspective on the whole structure. There is an urgency to do what we are called to be – for creating wholeness that glorifies God.
Leaders of the Ohio Conference Fall Youth Event started the day in October by inviting participants into UCC ministries in the world and by recognizing the wider world in their midst. Esther Ngemba, one of the Ohio UCC Youth, stood to tell her story. Esther and her family are refugees resettled in Ohio. She told the story of becoming refugees and fleeing, of their sojourn in a refugee camp in Uganda, and of their arrival in the United States and welcome by their UCC congregation. Everyone in the room was riveted. Refugees were no longer an abstraction, but one of us. Through the silence, one of the adult leaders rose with an unplanned, and impassioned, plea. “I don’t usually preach,” she started, “but I am today.” Addressing the youth in the room with a palpable urgency in her voice, “People will listen to you. People in your families and congregation and lives will respond and support you, because they love you.” She left all of us in the room with the charge – the world needs you – now – in this moment.
What prompted this inspired proclamation? Esther and her story.
Esther, as salt and light – just by being who she is as a person here and now and in the courage she shows by telling her story. Watch her presentation at the Ohio Conference Fall Youth Event.
Esther, as salt and light – challenging us into greater action for extravagant welcome. Her winning video in the UCC Youth Video Contest for Syrian Refugees during December challenges all of us to an extravagant welcome for Syrian Refugees. “As you welcomed me, welcome them.”