Although we left Montana almost a week ago, we have only been in the Cape Orange Diocese with our Companions since Friday. But these last days have been times of blessing and learning!
On Saturday, Pastor Manong took us to meet with some members of the Young Adult League, a newer organization in the Cape Orange Diocese that gives men and women past the age for the youth league but before the age (generally) for the Women’s and Men’s Prayer Leagues, a place to belong. The Leagues in the church here really are discipleship groups. There is a commitment that members make to belong and there are expectations about how to live, learn, grow and serve God and their communities, and they clearly encourage lay leadership and help to create a deep faith and are a source of strength for the church. I am impressed, and slightly jealous for the structures that allow the commitment for people to grow in faith and love for God and one another. I think the LPA program in the Montana Synod is the closest we have to this kind of organization and structure.
What we see first as we look at these groups are uniforms or shirts or ties and jackets that distinguish members of each group. Maybe in our culture that values “individuality” and “flexibility”, the uniforms seem rigid, but in another light, the uniforms provide a means of “putting on Christ”, “being clothed” for the challenges of keeping the faith. They seem to become a deeper symbol of an expression of faith.
I wonder what we lose sometimes with our insistence on individual expression over and against being members of something so much bigger than each one of us?
Please keep us in prayers for the deepening of our relationship with these wonderful people in these next days.