devotional: samson + galatians 2.20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

me and Samson

When Samson was eight years old, his father died. At this young age, he was left to care for his four siblings as his mother is mentally disabled. Despising neighbors would hurl stigmatizing words at Samson daily. Words of hurt. Words seeking to drain power and curse all life in Samson. “You’re nothing. You’ll never be successful. You’re an orphan.”

When Samson was eighteen and his family was near death by starvation, he joined a three year program that envisioned the life Christ could live through him. ZOE is an international ecumenical organization empowering orphans to start their own businesses while in Christian community with other orphans to become financially secure and sustainable. Today in the beautiful hills of northern Kenya, Samson lives a life that has turned words of curse to words of life. He owns a cow, 5 goats, 2 rabbits, and he has built his family a starter home on land that he rents.  He has plans to buy land and build a larger house for his family, including community orphans that he has adopted. All Kenyan neighbors know Samson’s successful tree seedling business, have come to admire him, and even send children to him to be mentored.

When I met Samson, I was struck by how he is a blessing to others. He told me about how he used to attend Sunday school before joining ZOE but didn’t realize that God could actually touch his life. That God in Christ would come to him through relationships with others. That the presence of Christ in community could and would transform his life. He beamed while saying, “I know that I can trust God!” Now because Christ lives through Samson, he lives compassionately and cares deeply for those treated unjustly. He intentionally employs old women and men who are discriminately unemployed and need to provide for their children.

Samson has been crucified with Christ and it is no longer orphan Samson who lives, but God’s son Christ who lives in him. And the life that Samson now lives in the body, he lives by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loves him and gave himself for him.

Almighty God, 

Thank you for the life and witness of our brother Samson. Please heal the places in my life where words of curse have been hurled, too—and please replace those words with words of life through Jesus Christ. May I joyfully discover the power of Christ in me and through me and in others and through others today. Amen.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. What strikes me most about Samson’s story?

2. How does my story connect with Samson’s?

3. What does it look like for Christ’s power and life to replace my own today?

timid at this blogging thing. practicing.

on february 2-11 i pilgrimed to Kenya to meet and sit with and listen to and witness young people who are orphans and participants of ZOE–an empowerment organization providing holistic support, teaching, micro loans, and encouragement for orphaned young people in Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Liberia, India, and Guatemala. the hope and transformation these youth are receiving and practicing is astounding. they are living Resurrection.

there’s been much to process, reflect upon, marinate, mull over. i’m taking it slow and, i hope, prayerfully.

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as you wait with me for more words on a page about ZOE, here are some words i wrote while journeying from Maua to Samburu to Nairobi by beautiful bumpy van ride. i was sitting in the front passenger seat next to rafiki Walter, a man with a wonderful laugh and cheerful giving spirit. [and yes. i thoroughly enjoyed teasing him as i do my brothers.]

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there’s something about pilgrimage—honoring space by being in it gently yet bringing my full self, listening Fully to stories, receiving hospitality with genuine enthusiasm, witnessing Christ among us.

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i want to see more places, but also return. i want to see more people but in a way that honors the rafikis i meet and make and tend to. i want to grow in understanding and experiencing and practicing relationship.

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i hope i can travel again soon. i hope to pilgrim each day. i pray i am open to growing in discipline daily that will shape me more and more into holy loving Pilgrim.