Before I served with ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission, certain concepts were just concepts.
The concept of poverty. The concept of privilege. The concepts of oppression and sexism and racism. The concepts of all the other -isms that sparked heated discussions in my college religion and philosophy classes, but otherwise were things that I didn’t really have to think much about. My friends and I didn’t have to, with our white skin and veneer of liberal ideologies.
Something changes when you live side by side with people who are up to their eyeballs in things that have never been merely conceptual. You learn what it means to sit together on skillfully woven homemade mats, to eat together, and to often carry their 2-year-old daughter on your back. You begin to see things differently after singing Hallelujah! while shoulder-to-shoulder with other believers on Sundays – and Mondays through Saturdays too. Even prayer means something different once you’re immersed in the prayers and the needs of others.
This message is excerpted from “Sewing lesson” by Annika Johnson in the March 2020 Gather magazine.
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