Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman
– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
First, a brief primer on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: current President of Liberia since 2006, and the first elected female head of state in Africa. In 2016, she was elected as the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States, the first woman to occupy that position. In 2011, Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. And she is also a United Methodist…
I point out Sirleaf’s resume to highlight the consistency between her rhetoric and her life commitments. When she states “it is only by sharing, showing love for someone and by reaching out to our neighbors that we manifest the scared creed…,”we are hearing from someone who has walked her talk. And frankly, that is the call that’s placed on each of our lives for those who seek to follow after the way of Bethlehem’s child. She learned and then embodied this lesson, an example of integrity for the rest of us.
Advent hope is built on the expectation that we can grow into the persons God intended. And we know what God intends for us: justice and righteousness, elements of character and common regard that make for peace and human flourishing.
Sirleaf is now 79 years old, but I’m imagining she is still evolving, still emerging into her better self because that’s what Christian hope predicts. So it is for each of us until we draw our last breath and arrive at last at our eternal Advent.
Prayer: Holy God, my hope for Advent is that you help me to become the person you have intended. Amen.