On a mission trip in Honduras a few years ago, we were all sitting with some of the villagers around a fire in the evening. One of the members of our team said, "Let's all go around and share our favorite Bible verse."
This sort of thing can be tough for us scripturally challenged Methodists! Someone mentioned John 3:16, somebody else said 1 Corinthians 13. A Honduran woman said, through a translator, "I love that passage toward the end of Luke's gospel, where Jesus says that the world is coming to an end, the moon will turn blood red, and everything will be burned and disappear. Such a comfort."
That's her favorite Bible passage? A comfort?
A nurse, sitting next to me whispered, "I talked with that woman in the clinic today. She has had four children, three of whom died in infancy because of hunger."
Then it hit me. Sometimes the difference between bad news and good news (gospel) is where you happen to be when you get the news. What sounded like bad news to me, "This world, which has been so good to you and your family, is ending. God is going to destroy all of it. This isn't the world God wanted; this is the world you built" seen through the eyes of the poor, is good news, gospel.
R.G.Lyons, our pastor in West Birmingham at the Community Church Without Walls, has invited Alan Storey to North Alabama to conduct his famous, Manna and Mercy Workshop. Alan Storey is the inspiring pastor of a multiracial church in South Africa. Manna and Mercy is a worldwide program whereby laity are led through the entire Bible in a study that reads scripture through the eyes of the "least of these." A Manna and Mercy workshop is a fast-paced, life-changing experience that you can use in your church and in your life right now. You will not read the Bible as you read it before after Manna and Mercy.
Join me and Alan Storey at Woodlawn United Methodist Church on Friday night, April 11 through Sunday, April 13 for Manna and Mercy. More details, along with registration information, are available on the Conference Website or by contacting Rev. R.G. Lyons at (205) 532-0907 or by e-mail.