Scott & Susan Couper Valiquette - South Africa
"The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." Psalm 119: 130
During our most recent vacation, our truck broke down in a small town called Senekal, 70 kilometres away from the next large town, Bethlehem. Ironically, it was also three days before Christmas. Senekal is a sleepy town in the province of the Free State in South Africa. You might not find it on a map. The mother in me began to worry about where we were going to sleep and how the children and I were going to get to Bethlehem. It was late on Friday afternoon and everything was closing. We could not ride in the tow truck. Scott walked down the street and discovered a small guest house, Annie's Guesthouse. It was questionable looking on the outside, but very nice on the inside. I later learned that it was formerly a carpenter's shop. Thankfully, there was room in the inn for us. Scott went with the tow truck to Bethlehem and secured a rental car and drove back to join us at the guest house. It was too late to drive home. Bethlehem was about a six hour drive to our home in Durban.
While I waited for Scott to return, Annie invited us into her living room. We chatted until Scott returned. During our conversation, I learned that Annie decided to establish the guest house because she felt is was a calling from God. I also discovered that we had something in common. Her daughter was living in Ohio (my home State) near Cincinnati. We talked about chilli and the Cincinnati Reds. When I rose from my chair, I discovered that I had been resting on an embroidered pillow of the State of Ohio. This very small guest house in a small and unfamiliar town was just like home and written on the outside wall of the guest house was Psalm 119:130, "the unfolding of your Word gives light." God's Word came to me from an unlikely source, time, situation, and in a place called Senekal.
God's Word has become synonymous with the Scriptures or the Bible, but this is only a piece of the puzzle for us as Christians. God's Word is revealed to us in other ways and by others. God's Word in Scripture is only part of the knowledge and revelation of God.
We understand from John's gospel that the very birth of Jesus is God's Word. Jesus brought light. This is the season of light, the season of epiphany. Jesus, the birth of the Messiah, is evidence of the "unfolding of God's Word." We know that the birth of Jesus was only the beginning. God's Word was also made manifest in Jesus' life and ministry.
God's Word is the gift of the Holy Spirit. God's Word comes through His people. As we share our stories of faith, God's Word is revealed. God's Word comes as revelation in prayer, meditation, and thought. God's Word is seen in other people as they give love to others, speak a word of comfort, deliver groceries to one in need, and sit and listen to the pain and heartache of another. God's Word is evident as we participate in the sacraments. God's Word is unfolding in our lives and gives light.
This is a new year full of possibility and the expectation of seeing God's Word unfold before us and giving light to each of us in our family, our church, and our world. God's Word is what we need. God's Word is what we yearn for. God's Word is the only thing that can fill the emptiness and disappointments we experience. Let us open ourselves to the unfolding of God's Word in this new year. God's Word might come through an unlikely source, time, situation, and place, even a little town called Senekal or a bigger town called Bethlehem. Revs. Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette
Reverends Susan Valiquette and Scott Couper are missionaries serving the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, Durban, South Africa.