You Are Loved
Bishop’s Theological Conference 2021 “You Are Loved” October 11, 2021 Peter began to say [...]
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.” - 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (NRSV)
There’s a tree I check in on every time I visit the head office of the Iringa Diocese. It is located behind the reception building and the small lounge with a TV where pastors and church leaders from further afield wait to meet with staff members whose offices form a ring around the courtyard. The tree is an avocado tree and it came from the Millions of Trees project near the back of the head office compound.
I check on this tree because I planted it.
Or, more accurately, because I helped to plant it. Most of the work was done by my Tanzanian colleagues – including the Treasurer of the Diocese and the late Amos Mkuye, Lead Building Technician at that time. Most of my ‘work’ involved placing the seedling in the hole that they had dug and fertilized. Someone else even did the initial watering.
Still, the tree is somehow mine and I do care for it. After more than a year and half away from Iringa, I wondered how my little tree was doing. When I walked back to the courtyard a couple weeks ago, I noticed that some of the other trees that were planted had withered away or been replaced. I was worried until I rounded the corner and saw it again. In February of 2020 it was small enough that you’d need to crouch down to give it a hug; now it is taller than me. My how it has grown…
That’s a sentiment that has surfaced time and time again during the whirlwind of the past three weeks and my first trip back to Iringa since the pandemic began. From the mountains of Bomalang’ombe to the rift valley sands near Ruaha, there’s been so much growth across this web of relationship that we share.
As much as we may want to center the story on ourselves, this time of being together and apart is a reminder that growth can be attributed to God and God alone, and signs of that growth can be found everywhere…
As I wait for my flight back to the United States today, I can confidently say that the state of this relationship remains strong and growing – all thanks be to God. And all thanks be to you, as well. While growth can be attributed to God, each of us has our small part to play. Whether it be planting or watering, digging deep or praying fervently, tupo pamoja. We are together.
With joy and gratitude
The Rev. Peter Harrits
Director of Bega Kwa Bega & Assistant to the Bishop