Well, it's half time in the second Semi-Final game, and only a two or three point difference between Texas Tech and Michigan State. The University of Virginia has already beaten Auburn in the first Semi-Final, by a hair.
I find myself transfixed by these fast-moving young men in their climactic NCAA Final Four games.
But, much more significant for me has been the seven hours Molly and I have spent today helping with the Pilgrim Center's retreat for 19 or 20 mostly young people at Koinonia Retreat Center in Annandale. Our task was to lift up "The Meaning of the Cross" and later share in the healing prayer time.
Over lunch two young women sat down eagerly beside us to talk about their country and their lives. They are both from South Sudan. One was born in Khartoum, capital of Sudan. The other was born in the U.S. "Our parents came to find a better life here. They had known nothing but war in South Sudan," one said. "I am a Dinka, and she is a Nuer. Yet we are friends.. We are part of the new possibility for our country. Ours are the largest tribes. They are long time enemies. But we are friends. We love each other."
Then one said, "You know, tribal hatreds are passed on from earliest childhood." Enmity and hatred are part of their heritage. But in their own friendship, far from "the home they loved" these young women are building a new and hopeful heritage.
What an honor to have been with them today. They are fashioning and living out a new life for their people.
That is what the work of the Pilgrim Center is all about: healing hurt hearts, and helping forgiveness replace hate among people who so need peace to help their families, tribes, and country build a new life.
We feel so honored to have but even this short time today with these remarkable and hopeful young people.
I will go back to the game on our TV. But what will be high in my dreams tonight, and in my thoughts these next days, will be these young people far from their home country who are living here at peace with each other, and witnessing to the peace their Lord gives them as He changes the dread heritage of war at home.
What an encouragement to Molly and me, to have had those few hours on retreat with our colleagues of the Pilgrim Center, and those who gather with them.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES