The roar of the neighbour’s generator is becoming a familiar sound. We plan our days around when the darkness will come, and how long the battery will last and what won’t work when. The network has been down regularly and so our regular means of communicating, be it phone or email is affected too.
On top of the complete disruption to the economy through load shedding which brings business to a stand still for at least two hours at a time and sometimes twice or three times a day, the taxi association and other unions have strikes and protests planned for around the country. It seems the country is taking giving things up (like everything) for lent quite seriously, and living simply may well take on a new meaning all together.
Meanwhile the allegations of corruption go on and on, and no sign yet that anyone will be held accountable, as some of these accused have still been presented as candidates for government in the upcoming elections.
These are dark days, I’ve moved out of my office, because it is totally dependent on artificial light, and is rendered useless half the morning and afternoon. Even my regular early morning work time has been affected with the 4-6am predawn blackout.
And so, we adjust. Fortunately, I had already started a new reading campaign – and using good old books means that any sunny spot will do (till Eskom announces Stage 8 and turns the sun off for two hours at a time) but I’m loving the reading time. I pray that you have found a way to “turn to good” the interruption and forced amendment to your schedule.
Every LENT is an opportunity to rearrange your lifestyle. I hope you are using the opportunity.
You know Jesus lived in dark days too. There was no load shedding but they had their own unsolvable problems and a growing sense of dread. Jesus Himself said that that generation would have to change its ways or be destroyed (The Sign of Jonah).
If ever there was a time to ask yourself what difference your faith makes, it’s now. Ahead of us lie some of the greatest challenges we will have to face. And yet they are challenges that every generation has had to face. Will we be given to despair and overcome with hopelessness or will we rise to the challenge and give of our best. What does it mean to follow Jesus in a world that is falling apart around us? What visible signs of God’s reign will we manifest in these times?
We need to get our “vision,” our understanding of God and His plan, right. We need to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, to see that the imperialistic ideals of Christianity that we cling to, are false; it was that desire for a political, powerful saviour (the concept that the Messiah would be a righteous world leader) that caused people to follow Jesus and then crucify Him. Jesus said that He was not coming to rule as an earthly power, but that He was bringing a new order. Built on love for God and love for neighbour. As we turn our minds to God’s great saving love – who are we seeking it for? For ourselves alone or for all creation? For those who meet our requirements, or for all creation? For those who agree with us, or for all creation? Loving nice people is hard enough, but God calls us to love our enemies. It’s time we really discovered what love really means. Compassion – yes we must have compassion on others. But to love them means to desire God’s mercy for them. For us to stand in the gap and pray fervently for their salvation. While we pray for our enemy’s demise, we are not acting in unison with the Kingdom of God. While we are judging others, we are not acting consistently with the Kingdom of God. While we are setting our own requirements for who should receive God’s salvation, we are not acting consistently with the Kingdom of God.
Who do you need to change your attitude towards? Who has God identified as someone needing His love – by you thinking of them as an enemy?
This Lent may we seek salvation for all creation. With Compassion and a desire for the love of God to shine though us into the hearts of others.
I wish you a blessed and transformative Lent.