For the past 3 months, I am happy to say I have added a new language to the list of languages I speak. Many of you are familiar with this language and it is well-known as gibberish.
At some point, all of us spoke that language.
I have spoken and sung so much gibberish since we had our baby Esther three months ago that if I was to compile them into a file I might be probably on my 10th or 13th album. I must say It has been an incredible experience being a composer with the aim of soothing Baby Esther when she is fuzzy or playing with her as she smiles and laughs.
Irrespective of my prowess in composing, gibberish songs and talks. They are no close match to that of Leah, her mom. On many occasions when our daughter Esther decided to become fuzzy my gibberish album would be ignored and actually catalyze the fuzziness but when her mom Leah shouts or says a simple sentence or sings a gibberish stanza and there and there she shushes and stops crying.
So as a caring Dad whose song hits are not working in soothing the baby, I decided to record her mom singing gibberish while she wasn’t aware. (play audio) the plan is to use it at some point. I hope it will work.
Mothers’ or mama’s voices are powerful and influential even though sometimes our communities might choose to ignore or even accept this fact.
These powerful mothers’ voices are always with us, sometimes loud and clear.
I am reminded of Growing up as a kid back in Kenya and I guess even today some kindergartens do sing this famous song; “Naskia Sauti x 2 Sauti ya Mama,” – I hear the voice x2 a voice of my mother.” Would you sing with me?
This song is like an anthem in many kindergartens that gets sung when it is approaching lunchtime when the kiddo’s concentration is lower, the stomach is empty and crumbling.
This song is not just a reminder for the kiddos that they were not alone but as well a sign of belief that soon and very soon after hard work in school there came a time they finally reunited with Mama again.
Of course, this was a particular song that they would sing at the top of their voices with an assurance that it is time to break loose from the exhaustion, singing this song changed their circumstance as they would bubble with Joy thinking of the mama hugs and kisses, they would even begin salivating thinking of the delicious meals that mama had already prepared for them.
It is always an immense joy to see students from Norris Middle School super excited and running here to church after school to enjoy the Intercultural After School Snacks provided by the church. On their way to school in the morning when they see the After School banner is up they for sure know it’s that day to enjoy the intercultural snacks. The free intercultural snacks offered are a gesture, of a caring and loving song, a taste of snacks they will live to remember. Even as they wonder and struggle to read out loud some of the names of snacks; chapati, kac kac, bhajia, chips mayai, samosas, and so forth.
I am as well reminded of the wonderful work the church is doing voicing out the need for culturally appropriate food or comfort food for the New Americans, refugees, and migrants who are currently not well served by the local pantries. The New Americans, refugees, and migrants have found a home here. You as a church have embraced them irrespective of their traditions and beliefs, all and all of them as your children and they are not afraid of coming here every time they hear your voice. And most importantly they are familiar with the church voice; a voice of inclusion they are free to speak their languages and be heard, and their dignity is respected through being offered the food they are familiar with or the cultural food they grew up eating.
It is amazing how you all are changing the narrative of how best to serve the community. It is not easy even as the needs and numbers increase. As we continue to witness what God has done and is doing, and learn from what God is doing in our communities. Let us not forget it’s God’s mission or missio Dei of transforming our communities.
This morning scriptures from the gospel according to John. Jesus is encouraging and inviting his disciples to be part of and continue doing the missio dei that is God’s mission not their own or what they would choose or imagine but God’s mission that can be messy, hard, challenging even in their own eyes impossible. Their one and only task was to trust and obey.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me, and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Jesus knew missio dei – God’s mission or God’s work is not easy it is hard for us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, always be in solidarity with the most oppressed and marginalized, pray every day, walk out of an addiction, that is why Jesus exhorts us today that God will send to us the Holy Spirit an advocate who will be with us forever.
It is not by power nor by might but by the Spirit of God.
It is God’s mission or missio dei today calling us to speak against all forms of gender-based violence by breaking the silence of domestic violence in our communities and it must stop.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey – On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
Let us take one minute of silence – I will set a minute timer and then we will all say we break the silence. Domestic violence and wars are battles we face that need to be won and we believe just like the poet a Jewish prisoner on a cellar wall in a WWII concentration camp – who wrote this poem or prayer of faith.
“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace….”
May we be challenged this Mother’s Day to believe in God who has called us is the same God is faithful to walk us through any trial that we face. This God is mighty to save us from our weakness and fears that hinder us from loving our neighbors as we should, praying as we should, caring for those in the margins and oppressed as we should, and above all loving God with all our hearts, souls, and mind.
Thanks be to God! And all the Church to say Amen!