Matthew 13:31-32 – The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree. (NRSV)
During a recent visit to India and Nepal, the words of today's scripture came to me on several occasions. I was reminded of how early missionaries like Dr. John Buchanan shared the good news of Jesus Christ with the Bhil people in the Bhopal Diocese of India. Here I was in 1999 experiencing the fruits of the seeds planted many years ago. I was touched by how much those seeds have grown. Christians in this area live their faith, and continue to plant and nourish the seeds planted over one hundred years ago.
That faith is expressed in many ways, in children's education, in pastoral ministry, in primary health care, in medical work in hospitals and in community/primary health work in the villages in the area. Through funding from Dr. John Buchanan's home denomination, women are trained to serve as health care workers in small communities where there is no medical care. Training in agriculture, animal husbandry, and ensuring clean water is also provided.
Each time I have the opportunity to visit overseas I give thanks to God for faithful servants who left their homes and families to respond to the call to go into the world. How warmly former missionaries are remembered in this area of India! Their names have been passed on to the next generation in a loving and caring spirit. It is almost like Dr. Buchanan just returned home.
I met with the pastor and leaders of the Jobat Church. They wanted to be assured that we continue to stand in solidarity with them. Our solidarity is vital to the life of these Christians. They appreciate the heritage that we share.
I learned from the Bhil Christians during my recent visit. The faith that they openly share with one another has strengthened my faith. Do we share openly that same faith here at home?
Prayer: Thank you, God, that the message of Jesus Christ was shared with the Bhil tribal people of India. We give thanks for their continued faithfulness. We also remember in prayer all Christians of India, many facing persecution because of their faith. Help us to be as faithful as our Christian brothers and sisters in India. Amen.