Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Uncommon Generosity

Today I was reminded that the very poor can also be very generous.

I accompanied my colleague Kamogelo Monoametsi to Vrygrond (“Freeground”), an informal settlement of wood and corrugated iron shacks, lots of white sand, and some tarred roads. Kamogelo has been their pastor for this year, and now leaves to complete his academic studies.

The congregation:
Working class people colourfully dressed for the occasion: the black suited church stewards, red, black and white clad members of the mens’ and womens’ organizations, the blue and white of the youth, and many members of the church who do not belong to an organization – but who literally put on their “Sunday best”. They had come to say thank you to their pastor. They did so with speeches and gifts. Each speaker earned the right to speak on production of a gift of money placed on the table in front of Kamogelo. I watched the work worn hands as one by one they laid R10 on the table and expressed their thanks. These poor people, who needed this money to get through the month, gave gladly to express their love for a good pastor.

And then there was the stranger:
A poor man dressed in ragged clothes. He wandered in looking for someone to say a prayer with him. The Stewards shifted up and found him a place; my Colleague invited him to Holy Communion and prayed for him; and at the farewell event after the service he was given a plate of food and a cool drink. I knew that each member of the congregation had paid for their meal in advance – which meant that this man was eating someone’s plate of food: I discovered later that the catering team had shared their lunches to create an extra plate....given gladly to express the love of Jesus to a stranger.

An Uncommon Generosity.

1 comment:

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Thanks for this encouraging testminony Pete.

It reminds me that the local Church still has the power to enliven the Gospel.

You have taught him well. I am looking forward to having Kamagelo here next year.

Much love,