03/1917 - "Faith Trust Belief" - Gospel: John 4:7-26
 

 
I attended a lot of meetings while working in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon.  For primarily cultural reasons, these meetings were almost always, predominantly attended by men.  If women were around they were often special guests there for a specific purpose, or alternatively, there to provide lunch, etc.  In Cameroon, where there are women, there are usually also children.
 
At this particular meeting, some ladies had brought in the trays of food that all the men had just finished devouring, and now, having gathered up all the dishes, the ladies had disappeared.  But one small child had been left behind…a little girl.  She was off to the side playing with a doll of some sort.  At some point she must have realized that her mother had gone, and she began to walk around the conference room looking for her.  As she continued to search, she became a little bit more anxious.  Now normally, in the Cameroonian context, finding any woman would have done.  She would have been swept up and taken back to where the other children and ladies were, and that would have been that.  Not finding any, she was growing frightened.
 
But then, she saw me, and I think she was confused.  I wasn’t a woman, but I also didn’t appear to be like one of the other men, at least not like the men she had seen and to which she was accustomed.  And in that moment of desperation, not finding her mother, or some other woman, she chose me.  With big tears in her eyes, she came up to me at the table and held her arms up to me to pick her up.
 
When the men in the room saw it, they immediately wanted to chase her away. They didn’t want some child disturbing Monsieur, le Directeur.  As one of the men approached to take her away, she wrapped her arms around my neck and held on for dear life.  When I waved him off, they began to chuckle.  I didn’t really know what to do with the child, but she seemed ok to be with me.  She quieted down, and eventually laid her head down on my shoulder and fell asleep. The men all took this as a sign, and began to call her “votre fille,” your daughter.  She was with us through most of the remainder of the meeting, and it wasn’t for until about 2 hours later, that a teenage girl popped her head in the room, saw her, and took her away.
 
For whatever reason, for that short period of time, that little one trusted me.
 
In this sermon we shall explore the nature of faith.  There is intellectual assent, but the true nature of faith is found as much or more in trusting relationships.  
~Pr. Luther