I felt a bit down yesterday, a bit melancholic, you know – disheartened – feeling the need to sigh a lot.
I love what I do – I love talking to God, talking about God, learning about God, sharing God with others. I know I am incredibly blessed to be in the position I am in, to have this opportunity to serve God, to even dare to presume I can say anything at all about God – it’s an enormous privilege I know, so why the long face then?
Talking about God is no good if you’re not doing something for God – if you’re not being purposeful or useful in some way, at least that’s how I feel. I spent the day reading about the work that is being done on behalf of women and children around the world to alleviate poverty, infant mortality rates, childbrides and general discrimination and inequality. I sat in my lovely comfortable office watching and reading whilst incredibly brave and strong people used their lives and their hands and feet to honor God in real time, striving to make a difference in the world and I sat and tried to prepare a sermon on using your talents (Matt 25). Words, hollow empty words … words spoken in God’s name while hands and feet remained idle. I felt like a fraud. I felt useless.
I got embarrassed, and I felt a sense of disappointment – I know God didn’t call me just so I could ‘chat’ about God… and so at my desk, I sent up a little prayer plea – ‘show me what I can do. I don’t want to waste this life you have given me, paying lip service to You and the Kingdom without doing anything concrete about it’. It was almost like a knee jerk prayer, born of a very heavy heart – one I thought God, maybe would answer sometime, maybe, if I was lucky.
I hit a block with the sermon – I had the points, but not the heart and so I prepared to pack up and go home and wallow a little … and then Illa phoned!
Illa does a lot of interfaith work in Durban and surrounds, fundraising, publicity, raising awareness, she is an incredibly busy lady – (Illa – LOVE!) Illa phoned and asked if I wanted to be her plus one at a Peace Lecture being held at the Anglican Church in Pinetown. The Archbishop of Cape Town, Rev Dr Thabo Makgoba was giving a lecture in honor of Bishop Rubin Phillip, to be responded to by Cardinal Napier. Did I want to go? Um, hello? Yes please of course!!!!
I will tell you all about the beauty of the Evensong aspect of the evening some other time, but for this post I want to just share how God answers even the littlest prayer. Bishop Rubin is all about social justice, he works to alleviate injustice and poverty, campaigning for human rights. The Archbishop reminded the ‘church’, the clergy present, that in order to achieve peace, we need to fight for justice and in order to fight for justice we need to know what our problems actually are. We need to be able to analyse what is going wrong in the world, not so that we can just break down existing structures be they political or economic, but so that we can understand how to rebuild those structures in new and effective ways. And as clergy it is our job to respond theologically, to speak up and work with policy makers, guiding and influencing decision-making, holding our leaders accountable.
Remembering principles such as we are taught in Romans: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’. Jesus had much to say about living (abundant living) and money and how to live sacrificially and generously, we don’t follow those principles anymore – I am trying to learn about this stuff (I am no economist that’s for sure) I know the systems we have in place are not all working for us, but I don’t know enough to be able to respond with appropriate long term action plans.
These are learned people I heard speak, these are people who can respond intelligently, theologically to the issues that they face – I am all heart and no head – I want to gung-ho feed everyone and find a job for every woman that comes across my path – and that’s good – we must do what we can for the people that cross our paths – but last night I felt God whisper into my heart ‘you need to learn how to respond appropriately, I have given you a talent for words – you have the gift of media and the internet and books and college to go and learn from so that you can work to alleviate the suffering you encounter, long term.’ These issues did not spring up over night, they will not go away overnight!
I walked out of there inspired! REinspired to do Gods work, understanding that it’s my pride which makes me want to do more than I am able to at this stage – God has called me to where I am right now, a student, a learner, an enthusiast, a speaker and a seeker! And I must, in obedience, learn to follow and absorb from those who know more than me, who can teach me how to invest my talent for long term gains – it’s more of the patience lesson I guess – I want to do it all and I want to do it now, but God has an ongoing plan to save the world – a plan already in existence and I must wait patiently and in readiness for when its my time to partner in, in the most effective way. For in all things it’s not MY will, but Yours …
Thank you God for hearing my prayer and for guiding me to a place of peace, when its time, with Your help, I pray I will be ready.