Saturday, February 16, 2013

Joining those who are stripped of their power.

Luk 4:1-13  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread."  Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"   Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

This has been a week that has dis-empowered women: this was the week in which Reeva Steenkamp, was shot four times on the morning of Valentine's Day; a week in which a policeman in Koster (North West) shot and wounded his wife before killing himself; this was the week that we mourned the gang-rape and murder of Aneen Booysen,

Jesus came to our world to speak about power.

But this is not the power one has when dependent poor people flock to you to be fed from your largesse; it is not the aura of a powerful political ruler when all bow before you; and it is not that of a worker of powerful magic that attracts gullible crowds. This is not the power that comes from getting on top of other people; and this is never the power that comes from “making a name for myself”. Instead this is the power that prompts us to sit alongside the weak, and the hungry, and suffering – and give them courage for life. This is the power to have compassion for the little people, and the forgotten people, and those who are abused and raped.

This was the week that we began Lent: a time when we mark ourselves with ashes to show our solidarity with those who sit in ashes. It is a week when we voluntarily take on a symbol of suffering through fasting. This was also the week where women asked us to show solidarity with those who are raped and abused through a campaign called ‘Thursdays in Black – Towards a world without rape and violence’.

It is time for us all to invoke the power of God to join the victims in their grief;  to assist victims to get back on their feet; and to work for a society that takes power away from bullies, and violent men, and all who seek to crush the life out of the weak. I will join the Thursdays in Black campaign as my commitment for Lent. And I will commitment my time, effort and power to protecting the weak and the powerless.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

So does God care?

Yesterday I described how Dianne Worringham, Mark Duncan and myself were running down Alexander Road extension, when we came across an accident: a drunk driver had driven into a runner out training in the early morning and killed him.

Does God care about this?
see my reflection on this at

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Lost for Words

This morning at 8am a drunk driver drove into runners out training and killed one of them. We were running the same road, probably fifteen minutes behind them.  Running with Mark and Diane, we came across the scene – a car that had driven up an embankment and rolled; a bloodied driver sitting on the pavement; and a distraught runner repeating over and over again that “he has been cut in half”.

I experienced a range of emotions – and have not yet worked them all out.

·         I was grateful that we had not been 15 minutes earlier in our run. It could have been us!

·         I was/am still angry that someone can be under the influence of alcohol at 8am in the morning....

·          and even angrier that this person should choose to drive a car. Driving after drinking seems to be part of our culture.  Men do not even blink when they pick up their car keys after a few drinks. Even more disturbing is the fact that the people around such a person do not protest or stop him.

Once again I state my case: I am opposed to mixing alcohol and motor vehicles. Anyone driving on the road should not drink at all. It is as simple as that. I drive sober. Period.

I pray for the family who have lost someone they have loved – because another person chose to impair his driving skills with alcohol.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Ignorance is Bliss

So I was stalked this week!

I was walking down Boom Street in Pietermaritzburg heading for Pieter Kerchoff Street, quietly minding my own business. Unbeknown to me I was being followed by two men who were discussing the contents of the sling bag I carry over my shoulder.  They speculated aloud whether I was carrying a camera, or if there were other valuable things inside it.  I, unaware of this conversation, reached the travel agent I was seeking and entered the building. We all went on our way having missed the moment that we might have met each other in an unfortunate encounter.

I only know this because our Seminary caretaker was walking down the same road behind the two men, listening to their conversation. He was wondering how he could intervene to prevent anything happening. He too went on his way, relieved that the moment had passed.