Over the last few weeks I attended the “ Church on the Margins” zoom meetings. In one of these sessions we were invited to reflect alongside Deirdre Brower on how does “walking alongside” God’s people look like in our current situation. She said the following: I’ve always thought it was an important Christian virtue to cross the road towards people. The Good Samaritan and faithful responses to need make me think that Christians should be those willing to move into a space where danger has been and help the most vulnerable. Where we do all we can to defy our stereotypes, reject our impulses of pure and impure, touchable and untouchable – and be those who touch – in the right way – the most bloody and battered of travellers. And yet, here we are in a space where the kindest action, the most just, the most right, is, in many cases, to cross the road away from people… I’ve always admired the notion of the courage of Christians continuing faithfully to meet – in spite of all instructions against that. Christian heroes met at 4am in secret, slinking through back streets in defiance of the empire and its alternative rules. The long history of Christians meeting in underground churches, early morning or late night rituals of faithfulness – expressions of gathering in Jesus’ name, of being fearless, of resistance, of knowing that death is not our worst defeat has always resonated and moved me. And, YET here we are, in a space where the most courageous display of our faith is to express solidarity differently and NOT gather, in secret or otherwise, and keep worship in physical distance from a community of bodies who follow Jesus.
In Christian Aid week we are ask to walk alongside the most marginalized people in the world. However, we cannot come together as we did before, for the Big Brekkie, Soup Lunches or our door to door collections. I think many of us who express their faith in the do-ing (faith in action) feel a bit off- balance and sometimes frustrated in the current climate, me being one of them. However, I have to say I find comfort in the events building up to Pentecost, many years ago. In the same way the disciples were ordered to stay in the upper room and pray until the time is right, we are today. Some of us maybe feel scared, anxious, frustrated or lonely but this monastic way of living can become the place where the Holy Spirit fall afresh on us and inspire us. When a person on a serious inner journey to their own vulnerability is also in immediate contact with the vulnerable of the world, then some form of community will almost always result. Without an interior life and a love of justice, most communities just serve themselves. The idea of a beloved community emerged from the deeply contemplative activities of a besieged people.
In the midst of the social distancing necessitated by this pandemic, people have nevertheless come together in creative and loving ways. Some have called this virus a massive “trigger event” with the potential to change everything. As individuals and communities, we can respond with justice and compassion, as we have seen in the Many Good News Stories across the NW Synod. How can we “walk alongside” and show solidarity in lock down?
-By praying and raising our awareness of the many projects that Christian Aid and Commitment for Life support.
-By donating money to Christian Aid via their gift page or e- envelopes
– By writing letters of thanks and appreciation to care home staff, funeral directors, your bin man, milk man, your local school’s teachers or local shops.
– By making that phone call to an isolated or lonely Elderly or refugee
In order to raise our awareness for Christian Aid week, I would like to share this Christian Aid and Commitment for Life service with you. Many of you have met Rev Dr Kevin Snyman during his recent visit to the NW Synod regarding his role with Commitment for Life. With permission and their blessing, he and his wife, Rev Nadene Snyman would like to share this service with you.
Please find the link: https://youtu.be/Ys_R62lNjsA
May we all use this time wisely for the greater glory of God’s Kingdom
Daleen ten Cate
Missional Discipleship Mentor