Out of the Cocoon
The theme of the women’s conference has been taken from Isaiah 43:19: “Behold, I am about to do a new thing.” Appropriately, the “visual” which has accompanied this is the butterfly. I brought this morning’s message in our opening worship and began with a short time-elapsed film which shows a butterfly emerging from a cocoon – that cocoon is quite ugly and tough! But the butterfly works hard to free itself – and what a beautiful thing it is when it comes out and breaks free.
I gave my own testimony of seeing how the Church in Syria could easily be caught in a cocoon of an ugly war – but it is continually breaking free to emerge again and again as butterflies of ministry which give witness to the good news of Jesus Christ: a ministry of reconciliation with youth in Homs, giving water to the surrounding community from the well at Aleppo Church, nurturing small children in the kindergarten of Mhardeh Church, etc. I ended by saying to the assembled sisters that their lives of faith and faithfulness were a gift to us, and we had a gift for them: a bag filled with all things “butterfly” – a ring, a bracelet, a notepad, a necklace, a small box – to remind us of our time together until we meet again.
We then loaded three busses for a day of fun and fellowship in the Chouf region. This “field trip” was to include shopping plus a visit to a nature preserve. But bad directions got us a bit lost (and late). So, after three hours on the bus, we decided that a leisurely lunch was the “major activity” for which we all longed! The restaurant, at the foot of a natural waterfall and nestled against a moss-covered open-air cave wall, provided a cool, relaxing verdant setting for our peaceful lunch. It also gave us a place for hundreds of photos to be taken with one another – sometimes in twos or threes, often in clusters, and always followed by hugs and kisses – as we are already seeking ways to hold onto one another, knowing we must part in a few days. That leave-taking will come with tears. But for today, we thank God for this precious chance to be “mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.” (Romans 1:12)
The Outreach Foundation