I mentioned in church this past week how profoundly inspired I was by Malala Yousafzai. She is the 17 year old woman who just last week was announced as the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She is an outspoken advocate for education, who was shot in the face when she was only 15 for speaking out for the education of girls while the Taliban took control of her hometown in Pakistan. In her first speech after the attack on her, which was at the UN last year, she said "The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.” I remember seeing her interviewed by Jon Stewart a year go on The Daily Show and her inner peace, light and joy was amazing to see. If you haven’t seen it take a look at this interview by copying and pasting this website(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjGL6YY6oMs) and be ready to be inspired. After winning the Nobel Peace last week she said, “I did not wait for someone else. I had really two options. One was not to speak and wait to be killed and the second was to speak up and then be killed. And I chose the second one. This award is for all those children who go voiceless whose voices need to be heard. And I speak for them. And I stand up for them.”
This inner strength that Malala Yousafzai has comes from a foundation of faith as a practicing Muslim. She knows that nothing can separate her from God’s presence and she lives each day embodying God’s love in all she does. Thank God for people like her who as we go through the challenges we face in life remind us that we are not defined by those challenges, or any outside forces, but by our identity as children of God. It is not always easy to own this for ourselves, but no one can argue that the task is more possible when you are a part of a loving and supportive faith community.
This is why it is so important for us to remember our call to do all we can to ensure that we are always a welcoming, open, and fully inclusive church. Thank you for all you do to make sure that Harvard Epworth UMC is a place where God’s love is felt by anyone who comes through the door. And, of course, always be open to those moments when you have the opportunity to invite someone to church. Obviously, this is wonderful to do any Sunday, but specifically on Sunday, October 26th, we look forward to a special Bring A Friend Sunday. Share the light that shines in you in all you do.
See you in church!
Grace and peace,