Piketberg is on a journey together
Last week we conducted the third of a series of discussions between the URCSA and the Dutch Reformed Church in Piketberg. This series focuses on the facilitation of conversations with the purpose of healing, reconciliation and unity.
The church is often accused of trying (especially during sensitive conversations) to manipulate the conversation with a specific text from the Bible. That is why Braam Hanekom decided to simply discuss Luke 19, the text he read during his quiet time that morning. The following came to mind:
Zacchaeus and restitution - after his encounter with Christ.
The talents and the important point that it does not matter how much you have. What matters is what you do with what you have.
The Entry into Jerusalem - and Praise.
Prayer - "My house will be called a house of prayer."
Feel free to read the chapter as a unit yourself. It was a wonderful starting point for this conversation on Piketberg. Over the course of the evening, the following also came to light:
Yearning for unity among all the churches in Piketberg. The church is currently fragmented in so many towns. It has a negative impact on the church's testimony and prophetic task.
The importance of expanding the group to many other members. The importance of not letting ourselves be overwhelmed by possible resistance.
A proposal to arrange a large joint meal in the town, or perhaps on a farm.
And of course a communion in collaboration with more churches.
Both church councils were challenged to think about a conciliatory symbolic gesture that could be addressed to the other congregation.
We talked seriously about pride. Surely one of the most serious sins in the Gospel. As well as the Xhosa word umona.
We told each other that we were not going to force things, but also to know: "water that stands still for too long starts to stink."
We must all be freed from racism.
Emphasis was placed on the fact that we are not different races in the first place, but human beings! Human beings who need to be respected.
When asked why God made so many different races, the modest answer came: because there is so much beauty locked up in diversity! Go and look at nature. We must celebrate, respect and admire the diversity in South Africa. Numerous beautiful stories about what was happening in the town were also shared.
We concluded the evening with prayer and worship. When Braam walked out of the consistory in the silence of the balmy, spring evening, he knew that there might be bad stories in the newspapers tomorrow. Yet for one moment in time, he again celebrated the different, peaceful fellowship in Christ. The quiet evening of the rural town was even quieter for him and the night even more peaceful. On the way back he could even see the swaying wheat fields in the dark. The promise of a beautiful harvest was in the air.