I read this article written on the It’s Time event and felt I needed to respond. Have a read because it has some points and truths that we cannot ignore:
I find so much of what you wrote to be true. We as the church, the christians, the Christian beneficiaries are doing too little. Your suggestion of having an “it’s time” moment in 1994 is spot on, where financially we gave of ourselves to benefit the true victims of apartheid, the children of those who continue to suffer. Or perhaps the many other moments you spoke of when we should’ve stood up and said “it’s time”. We have lost credibility in many circles, we have missed opportunities to stand alongside victims because of their suffering, not simply because it’s spilling over into my yard now.
But, I am also saddened by the condescension, the way you labelled yesterdays event, as little more than a man inspired “sacred assembly”. It sounds as if it was written before we met, it also sounds as if you never took the journey.
I stood there yesterday, moved, inspired and encouraged as the million plus crowd kneeled, held hands and repented. The brown lady next to me was moved as well. We held hands and prayed together and I don’t know what shifted, but I am trusting in the one to whom I prayed that, even though we might be late, the time will still serve as a line drawn in the sand which declares, here and no further.
Perhaps it was too white, perhaps it was too Afrikaans, perhaps people didn’t have the right motives or should have had a better response earlier. Perhaps there should have been more Zulu, Xhosa etc, songs. Perhaps I could go on for ever about our shortcomings. BUT GOD!!
You see, the event started with a call to repentance, and it is God alone who will judge the validity of that repentance. The time consisted of worship to Jesus, whether I would have chose different songs is of no consequence so long as He was the subject of our praise. The afternoon had a million plus people singing the national anthem, this was so powerful. I can’t tell you the feeling of having those same million plus people shout Amen, to prayers asking for an end to racialism, murder, rape, poverty, unemployment, hatred, unforgiveness, corruption etc. It was a moment I will never forget and I trust that it sent shock waves through the unseen world that are trying to say that this Country does not belong to Jesus.
We can always be so negative when faced with news, statistics, reality and perhaps even a gathering of South Africans, who did possibly benefit from Apartheid, although I doubt this can be said for all present. We were encouraged to stop this criticism, to stop this negativity, to go to our churches and mobilise, to pray, to catch ourselves and others when we are being negative and declare as Paul did when he spoke of our lost state “BUT GOD!”
I would agree we can and must do more, we must look at ways to intentionally reconcile, to reach out, to risk, to become uncomfortable. But I urge you, don’t look at yesterday as just another “Event”. To quote Jonathan “Perhaps God will be with us” as we tackle the giants ahead of us. What’s more, the ripple effect of yesterday spilled over into my life, my family, my church this morning. Perhaps the same happened in the million plus other’s lives.
Your take on the apathy is not wrong, not at all! But my caution is this, I believe God was present, I have faith it will cause a ripple effect like never before, and I don’t want to be the one who stands and judges the Judge declaring that what He is doing is not good enough because it differs from what I would have done.
Whilst you would have them pointed to Zaccheus, I can assure you the correct person was pointed too, and that person is Jesus. Let’s work towards justice, but let’s not blanket those on their knees with judgement, because perhaps they were asking the King of Justice to show them the best way forward.
But, let us also make sure that we do move from our posture of prayer, let’s risk and do whatever God says to bring about the changes we prayed for.