Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A new year!

I have just returned from a trip…no, a spiritual adventure, in the country of Uganda. I am still jet lagged, so I am here at my computer at 4:30 in the morning. For anyone who knows me…I love my sleep, so I am choosing to understand this as a call from the Spirit. It is hard to find the words for this experience. It has been a sankofa: It is not wrong to go back for that which is forgotten. I return with images of color, texture, dance, spirituality…in the ten days we were gone (two taken up by plane maintenance delays, another movement of the Spirit?) we went to church three times and visited a number of spiritual sites. We went without any agenda or plan except for the first two nights reserved in a historic Kampala hotel.  The Spirit led us to the places of transformation through our friend Nuwa Nnyanzi. We met when he was an artist in residence here in Madison, WI.
 
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Baptist Church, under construction and yet in full use!
 
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Roman Catholic Church dedicated to martyrs who died rather than renounce their faith.
 
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Indigenous Spiritual Sites along the hiking trails
The photo I did not take was a tiny girl with flower earrings. Ugandans love their children. She was a street child. We were told that many of these children are brought here by traffickers, from other cities, even other countries. Again this deep issue of human trafficking arises.  When people do not have enough…when others have more than enough. I have come to understand that the consideration of another culture can strengthen one's understanding of one's own culture. Seeing the physical poverty and yet experiencing  spiritual abundance in Uganda contrasted with my experience in the United States of affluence but a deep sense of spiritual poverty. What do we need to go back for to find what we have forgotten? That little girl will remain in my heart as I continue to search for the answers.
 
Our worship focus this year of 2017 is sustainability.  How does the Spirit of God sustain us? We also celebrate 50 years of this Jail Ministry. How can we sustain the next 50 years? How can we be part of a movement that sustains people, moving away from the need to incarcerate at such a high rate and leading people to the healing they need to build a sustainable life? Embrace the questions!
 
Peace & gratitude,  Julia