Friday this week will mark the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ, the divine infant born in a manger in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. He became what Christians throughout the world call the Savior of the World.
The congregation at St. Stephen Episcopal Church, Monrovia, was treated yesterday to a powerful meditation by one of the church’s youths, Dieudonne K. Perry, who was described as an “alumnus” of the St. Stephen Sunday School.
Perry’s performance could well be an excellent example for all Sunday schools in the republic. What is the role of the Sunday school? To teach the bible stories and help the children to understand the story of Jesus and what the bible says about people’s relationship to God and to one another.
In his meditation yesterday, young Perry displayed a good grasp of these lessons. His theme was, “Don’t Ask How; Just Believe.”
He took his text from yesterday’s Gospel reading, in which Luke told the story of two extraordinary biblical developments. The first was the conception of Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zachariah. Both were very old, in their eighties or older, but an angel of the Lord told them that they would have a son. Zachariah quickly dismissed the angel, as though he was talking nonsense. “How can two old people like us bear a son?” he asked the angel. The angel told him, “Since you don’t believe, you won’t speak until the child is born.” Zachariah immediately became dumb until Elizabeth gave birth to their son. When the naming day came, that was Zachariah’s moment of redemption. He finally opened his mouth saying, “His name is John.”
The lesson here is, Perry told his audience, “Don’t ask how; just believe.”
The second extraordinary development Perry narrated was what Christians call “the immaculate conception”—Mary’s pregnancy not by any man, but by God. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a virgin engaged to Joseph in the house of David in Nazareth and told her she was to bear a son, named Jesus, whose kingdom would have no end.
But the perplexed young virgin asked the angel, “How shall this be, since I know not a man?” He replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon thee and thou will bear a son who will become the Son of God.”
Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, though barren and in her old age, would bear a son and was already six months pregnant. The angel reassured Mary, “. . . nothing shall be impossible with God.”
That was enough for Mary. She told the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
Mary had absolutely no clue as to how this miracle of conception would come about—but that was not her problem. She only believed, and Jesus was born on Christmas Day!
In his meditation yesterday, Perry quickly switched to Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who had also been barren until she and her husband became old. So when an angel told her she would bear a son, she laughed. “Why is your wife laughing?” the angel asked Abraham. “Shall anything be impossible with God?”
Sure enough, this aged couple bore Isaac. Perry’s admonition, “Don’t worry about the how; just believe.”
Each Liberian or person reading this Editorial, indeed each person listening to young Perry at St. Stephen yesterday may have some desire, some dream, some goal, some hope this Christmas. Whatever it is, the young Sunday school boy is telling us NOT to worry about how this desire, dream, goal or hope can be realized. Just believe, and as it happened to Elizabeth, Mary and Sarah, it can happen to you, too. For God is Almighty, all wise and everywhere, even in your house, your office or in your heart, and He CAN empower you to realize your dream you thought was impossible.
Do you have a dream, a burning hope or longing for your beloved country, Liberia? Don’t worry about how God will work this miracle to set our country on the right path to greatness. Just believe, and it will be done. That is the promise of this Christmas!