Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
The Reformed Church in America’s roots in Oman go back to 1891 when Samuel Zwemer met with the Sultan of Oman to discuss ways that we could help his country. In 1893, Peter Zwemer and James Cantine came, and we have had people here ever since. What started with hospitals, schools and a church continues to thrive today in the work of Al Amana Centre.
Last year I had the honor of being with Eloise Bosch and her family as we covered her in prayer while she joined the company of the saints and the great cloud of witnesses. Eloise and her husband brought their three children to Oman in 1955 and served the rest of their lives in the Gulf, mostly in Oman. I will always treasure the conversations I had with Eloise and what she taught me.
A couple of weeks ago Lewis Scudder III, the person who actually wrote the book on the RCA’s history in the gulf, died, leaving a long legacy of mission work in his wake.
The Boschs and the Scudders were just a few of the hundreds of people, sent by the RCA, to the Gulf to serve among the people here. They brought healing, education, and love. (If you want a long list of names and ministries you can read about them in Lewis Scudder’s book: The Arabian Mission’s Story: in Search of Abraham’s other Son.) Each and every one who came here invested the talents God had given them. Each of them, in their own way, was a faithful servant.
One of the things I admired most about Eloise is that she remained true and faithful to her Christian faith and ideals while at the same time being open to learning from, and becoming part of, a community that was not her own. She took what God had given her, her talents, and she “traded with them, and made five more.” Her gifts were invested and people in Oman experienced God’s love through her.
All of us are the keepers of a sacred trust, one given to the disciples and passed on throughout time, to take what God has given us, and invest it. Like the faithful servant in the parable we must “go off” or go out and trade with what we have been given. We must engage with people of other faiths, other traditions, and even people within our own traditions with whom we disagree. If we do this, we can trust that our investment will grow.
If we keep this gift to ourselves and bury it in the ground, what we have will be taken away. We need to keep going off and going out with the gift we have been given. Not everyone needs to come to Oman, or go overseas, but we also can’t remain isolated in a hole in the ground.
Prayer for the day:
O Divine Master, you have entrusted us with a gift beyond measure. Help us to go out, engage with others, and invest what you have given us. Amen.
Justin Meyers is the Associate Director of Al Amana Centre in Muscat, Oman. An ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, Justin pastored in New York prior to serving in Oman. Al Amana Centre, the legacy of the Reformed Church in America’s medical and educational work in Oman, is committed to working for understanding and peace between Muslims and Christians.