It was a most unusual and unforgettable Palm Sunday at Africa University. No Hosanna, Loud Hosanna. No Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. In fact, no palms. Seems strange in a land with tropical trees, there would be no palms when American churches clamor to find them so children can carry them in during a worship service procession. Adults smile, mothers and father snap pictures of darling children and we all get the warm fuzzies. And from a historical standpoint, nothing was said nor celebrated that on this Sunday -- 115 years ago -- British imperialist Cecil Rhodes had granted the nearly 1,600 acres of land to Methodist Bishop Joseph Crane Hartzell for a school to educate the children of white British workers who were building a railroad to transport then Rhodesia's natural resources to South Africa for transport to Great Britain.
And yet, it WAS Palm Sunday...Soli Deo Gloria -- To God Alone Be the Glory.
Dr. Roger W. Ireson used the keynote address at the 20th annivesary celebration at Africa University it as a time to reflect on God's movement in the formation of Africa University. "This didn't just happen. It was a work of God." And addressing the students, he added, "And it was established for you. Give yourself to the world and build a new Africa. and you will see the dream fulfilled." Ireson wove together several stories about the early years of the university with a refrain, "Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was chance. But maybe it was a movement of God."
And so the day ended, realizing that extravagant generosity of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and a group practicing extravagant generosity after being inspired by the Holy Spirit in the mountains of Zimbabwe served as a reminder that we hold the key to turning dreams deferred into dreams fulfilled.
You don't have to look very far to see our conference's imprint on Africa University. But perhaps it is a time to shift focus and help some of those high school students reach their dreams. For the past several years, we have been funding scholarships for AU students, but what would a big dream look like? What would it mean to really make an impact on the African continent?
The greatest legacy of Earl’s life might be his passion for seeing that everyone gets a fair shake. Judge Jon Gray of Kansas City, Mo., who served on the Judicial Council from 2004 to 2012, has made this part of his ministry in retirement and was the counsel for Bishop Bledsoe before the Judicial Council. But if a system is to be truly fair, we need other advocates that can fill Earl’s shoes.
The September 2010 issue of The Current is a milestone on a number of fronts.