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National Committees 2014 Egypt Publications Fund for Tomorrow

Papua New Guinea 2009
In Christ, Many Members Yet One Body

 
 

On March 6, 2009, the women of Papua New Guinea invited us to have the confidence of Ruth, who left what was familiar to her and went with Naomi to another land. They call us to ponder the mystery of our oneness in Christ in their context and our own. Papua New Guinea has one of the most heterogeneous indigenous populations in the world. More than 800 languages are spoken. Their diversity is expressed in this saying, “For each village another culture.” Yet, the bilum, a traditional string bag is found nearly everywhere. Bilums come in many colors, sizes, shapes, and styles and often the creative designs identify where the bilums were made. Men usually prefer a long handle style that is worn over the shoulder. Women carry their babies and their market produce. Bilums are also used as a hanging cradle for a sleeping baby.

We are also invited to reflect on the collaborative networks among women. In Exodus, the story of deliverance from bondage begins with women’s non-violent intervention. Their actions ignore the social forces that are rooted in the fallacy that one group is superior to the other and is entitled to exploit them. Together, the women overcome evil with good. So, too, in the context of Papua New Guinea, we are given examples of women’s intervention in Bougainville and in the Highlands. And we are called to identify women’s intervention in our own context.

We thank you, God, for directing our lives. As women united as one in your body, with your love and your power in us, we pray that we would be your instruments for peace and reconciliation.

 

Baby and Bilum
Big sister looking at little sister

 

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