Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reverend Father Part II

Note the dog in the last picture above.  Even the mutt wanted to be a part of the blessing.

It was this little girl's birthday and Father blessed her.  It's difficult to explain, but when he cradled her little head in his hands and blessed her, I was profoundly moved.  I remember musing, "Wow, this is a Priest." 

I loved the choir - it was powerful to hear popular Episcopal hymns sung with their wonderful Liberian accents and the African flavor of their voices.

My Wonderful Priest preached a sermon on how the acolytes vested her.  She noted that before the service, they surrounded her and vested her as though they were dressing a bride.  They made sure her cincture was properly tied, her cross was straight, and handed her her prayer book.  Father told her that is because they don't have a mirror and the acolytes serve as the mirror.  In her sermon, she made the point that depending on your outlook (scarcity or abundance) one might think the church needs a mirror; another might see the grace in having these young acolytes touch you, vest you, and show you abundant love. 
The acolytes were amazing during the liturgy.  Their precision in censing and genuflecting was astonishing.

 After the service, we chatted with the parishioners.

The vestry invited us to the Palava to have refreshments.

Liberian women are extremely beautiful.  The hospitality extended to us was most gracious.

They told us about the school they are building on the property.  They are providing free education to the children in the surrounding area.  They started with kindergarten-2nd grade (I believe) and hope to add grades as the years go on.  They started with 30 children on the first day and are up to 90 or more now.

The building is not yet finished.  We were able to donate $800 toward the school as an offering during the service.  It felt wonderful to be able to make a significant contribution to this little school.  I would like to find more ways to help St. Peter's School.

Beautiful student.

Beautiful flora.
I was so grateful for this day in  Caldwell with the priest and parishioners of St. Peter's.  It was a blessing beyond my imagination.  I didn't realize how in need I was of  the balm of good liturgy and powerful worship until I was in its midst.  It was a very healing day.

Of course, that wasn't the last we saw of this dear Priest.  He spent the entire day with us on our last day in Liberia.  And, of course, rode with us to the airport. 

So, dear friends, if you are in Liberia, be sure to look up the Reverend Father.  Actually, you won't have to look him up, he'll most likely know you are coming, meet you, watch over you, bless you, befriend you, and be a manifestation of the Christ within.  God continue to bless you Reverend Father. 

Oh, and one more thing.  Buy him a Guinness for me.

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