How the Lion Learned to Roar


I was sitting tonight in business meeting as the Europe and Middle East Section of FWCC made nominations for the needed committees while we’re here in Herzberg, Switzerland. It’s often interesting to see how other Quakers besides my own meeting do business as my meeting is, admittedly, of a different variety, particularly as it relates to time and business conducted. Our meetings tend to be very simple, straightforward and as many of us were not brought up Quaker, they are pretty quick as well. One day, our pastor hopes we will have something truly controversial to discuss to see how we handle it, controversial being a deeply relative term for our church, but as of yet, this has not come to be. So I sit in the business meetings of other groups of Friends, observing the differences and the similarities in relation to what I know.

As an example, here in Europe, when agreeing on an item of business, they say, “hope so” whereas at home we would say, “affirmed”. Not understanding what everyone was saying, I asked my neighbor and she later inquired if I was a new Quaker. I told her I wasn’t but explained that different groups of Friends in America reply in business meetings in different ways. It’s a truth important for us all to remember: the ways we know are not everyone’s ways. We are all different. This has been very apparent this trip.

After business meeting, the clerk ran though the schedule for the next morning. This year, the Europe and Middle East Section of FWCC, the Europe and Middle East Young Adult Friends, and the Executive Committee are all meeting together. I’m not sure of the exact number, but there are over 80 Friends from all over the world here in Herzberg. Some things on our schedules are all together and some are separate. Since I had only seen the Young Adult schedule, I had assumed that the morning session where I will be speaking with four other people from around the world reflecting on four questions was only going to be with the young adults. Apparently not. It’s one of the times when we are all together.

It’s probably a good thing we had a bit of quiet after that announcement because what was going through my head was something along the lines of, “All eighty? All these weighty Friends whom I respect from so many countries? (Breathing.) Okay...” My reaction reminded me, on a somewhat smaller scale, of what I felt in Kenya when I was told I would be speaking first thing in the morning to 1,200 people. With this history, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was first up. Although that can be good when they have no one to compare you to yet! But right on the heels of this first thought came the second. I’ve already spoken to 1,200 people and as Ruth so beautifully whispered to me before I went up that day, “If you can talk in front of them, you can talk in front of anybody!” But more than this encouragement, that morning had already given me strength that changed me forever. Strength I know will be flowing through me tomorrow.

What happened that morning on the drive to the Kenya youth conference, something I have never written publicly about, is a conversation between God and I in the front seat of the van. I was praying for wisdom and that God would supply me with the right words to say and the ability to say them without a translator to such a large audience. I wasn’t nervous about the speaking or even the number of people in the audience, I was quivering a bit inside because of God’s trust in me to speak to so many. But what God told me are words I will forever treasure, words that still bring me to my knees in tears: “You were right.” I knew exactly what was meant. All those times people told me they didn’t see me in ministry, that they wouldn’t put me up in front of an audience, or didn’t believe in my abilities as a speaker, though I knew without a doubt that is what I was born to do, I was indeed right the whole time. God then told me, “Go and take your rightful place,” which filled me with visions of Simba walking up Pride Rock to take his rightful place at the end of The Lion King. I took that microphone that morning with a steady hand, an iron rod of steel strength up my back which has never left. Around my neck was a lion’s tooth hanging on a beaded necklace, a necklace that will also be around my neck tomorrow. A lion is a special image between God and I and I sometimes wear this necklace to remind myself of the truths I’ve been taught.

So tomorrow morning I am going to walk up there to the front of the room and share with them what I have to say. I am going to be strong and courageous for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go, the Mighty Lion who taught this lion how to roar.


Speaking in Kenya at the youth conference

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Walking the Sea: How the Lion Learned to Roar

Friday, April 22, 2011

How the Lion Learned to Roar


I was sitting tonight in business meeting as the Europe and Middle East Section of FWCC made nominations for the needed committees while we’re here in Herzberg, Switzerland. It’s often interesting to see how other Quakers besides my own meeting do business as my meeting is, admittedly, of a different variety, particularly as it relates to time and business conducted. Our meetings tend to be very simple, straightforward and as many of us were not brought up Quaker, they are pretty quick as well. One day, our pastor hopes we will have something truly controversial to discuss to see how we handle it, controversial being a deeply relative term for our church, but as of yet, this has not come to be. So I sit in the business meetings of other groups of Friends, observing the differences and the similarities in relation to what I know.

As an example, here in Europe, when agreeing on an item of business, they say, “hope so” whereas at home we would say, “affirmed”. Not understanding what everyone was saying, I asked my neighbor and she later inquired if I was a new Quaker. I told her I wasn’t but explained that different groups of Friends in America reply in business meetings in different ways. It’s a truth important for us all to remember: the ways we know are not everyone’s ways. We are all different. This has been very apparent this trip.

After business meeting, the clerk ran though the schedule for the next morning. This year, the Europe and Middle East Section of FWCC, the Europe and Middle East Young Adult Friends, and the Executive Committee are all meeting together. I’m not sure of the exact number, but there are over 80 Friends from all over the world here in Herzberg. Some things on our schedules are all together and some are separate. Since I had only seen the Young Adult schedule, I had assumed that the morning session where I will be speaking with four other people from around the world reflecting on four questions was only going to be with the young adults. Apparently not. It’s one of the times when we are all together.

It’s probably a good thing we had a bit of quiet after that announcement because what was going through my head was something along the lines of, “All eighty? All these weighty Friends whom I respect from so many countries? (Breathing.) Okay...” My reaction reminded me, on a somewhat smaller scale, of what I felt in Kenya when I was told I would be speaking first thing in the morning to 1,200 people. With this history, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was first up. Although that can be good when they have no one to compare you to yet! But right on the heels of this first thought came the second. I’ve already spoken to 1,200 people and as Ruth so beautifully whispered to me before I went up that day, “If you can talk in front of them, you can talk in front of anybody!” But more than this encouragement, that morning had already given me strength that changed me forever. Strength I know will be flowing through me tomorrow.

What happened that morning on the drive to the Kenya youth conference, something I have never written publicly about, is a conversation between God and I in the front seat of the van. I was praying for wisdom and that God would supply me with the right words to say and the ability to say them without a translator to such a large audience. I wasn’t nervous about the speaking or even the number of people in the audience, I was quivering a bit inside because of God’s trust in me to speak to so many. But what God told me are words I will forever treasure, words that still bring me to my knees in tears: “You were right.” I knew exactly what was meant. All those times people told me they didn’t see me in ministry, that they wouldn’t put me up in front of an audience, or didn’t believe in my abilities as a speaker, though I knew without a doubt that is what I was born to do, I was indeed right the whole time. God then told me, “Go and take your rightful place,” which filled me with visions of Simba walking up Pride Rock to take his rightful place at the end of The Lion King. I took that microphone that morning with a steady hand, an iron rod of steel strength up my back which has never left. Around my neck was a lion’s tooth hanging on a beaded necklace, a necklace that will also be around my neck tomorrow. A lion is a special image between God and I and I sometimes wear this necklace to remind myself of the truths I’ve been taught.

So tomorrow morning I am going to walk up there to the front of the room and share with them what I have to say. I am going to be strong and courageous for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go, the Mighty Lion who taught this lion how to roar.


Speaking in Kenya at the youth conference

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

At April 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM , Blogger knitsteel said...

Thank you. This spoke to me.

 
At April 23, 2011 at 8:32 AM , Blogger Christine said...

Hi Sarah. I read your posts each time they arrive, but with this handy new email feature I never actually make it to the blog site as the entire entry comes in the body of the mail. So I trotted over here to comment. What a beautiful testament to faithfulness to God's call, how God doesn't necessarily call the equipped but equips the called. And you are both, my dear friend. Blessings.
Christine

 
At April 26, 2011 at 4:30 AM , Blogger Juliet said...

Sarah, you did a good job in Herzberg, and we definitely liked you! :-) Hope your travels continue to be exciting, inspiring and enjoyable - Juliet

 

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