Transforming Discipleship

Transforming Discipleship

October 12, 2014  |  Sunday Letter

Keeping Sabbath Holy

 Pause!  Rest! Remember!

Learn to say “NO”

Get into your diary first

 

Grace and peace to you

The following is an extract from our Presiding Bishop, Rev Zipho Siwa’s, Conference address:

“I call on Methodist people to encourage the culture of appreciation and acknowledging the good that God is doing through His people. I call for a culture of blessing and not cursing; a culture of painting God’s world with beauty and spreading a transforming fragrance. I call on all of us to engage in healing conversations and speaking transforming words even to the timid and the wayward. Words have power to create a new culture and build new people; a transforming trajectory and transformative discourse. Indeed we are called to be a transforming discipleship movement.

The basis of our calling:
Our conviction as people of faith is that our life together can be better and our calling is ‘to reclaim Jesus’s ancient and compelling vision of the common good’ (Jim Wallis). The common good has become very uncommon, writes Jim Wallis in his recent book ‘The (un)common good.’ In many areas of our existence, self-interest and fighting for political ideology has replaced finding solutions to problems in a genuine way. In so doing human beings continue to inflict pain, suffering and destruction on each other. Seeds of division are sown every day of our lives in different forms of actions and words. These seeds germinate and grow and when we least expect, it show up in families, communities, churches and nations causing unending devouring of each other.

What can be done and what does the Lord require?
It is a community that responds to the prophet Micah’s words in 6:8: “The Lord has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Justice, mercy and a humble walk with God are highlighted as the marks of a transforming discipleship movement…

It is possible to walk nicely and be a nice ‘church’ – but without God. The target of this transforming discipleship movement is not just doing nice things, planting new churches, or simply adding numbers and having a strong financial base, but transformation of persons and creation for a better social reality.

Pope Francis, in his address from St Peter’s Square on 18 May 2013 said; “Today’s world stands in great need of witnesses, not so much of teachers but rather witnesses. It’s not so much about speaking, but rather speaking with our whole lives.”

A story from Brazil told by Jim Wallis, illustrates this point well. A community of subsistence farmers were about to lose their land to a big Government project. No amount of engagement or protests helped. Instead protests were met with violence; even death.

Then when a final vote was to be taken a group of mothers went to the area where the senators lived. They sat on the lawns in big numbers. When the wives of the Senators came to offer them food, they refused, and when offered money, they did not take it. When asked, what then do you want? They said; “we have come here to die with our children. We see this place as a nice place to die.”

It was then that the wives of the senators listened to their story and began telling their own stories as mothers. Then telephones started ringing in the corridors of power. The weeping together of the women; sounded a call to the corridors of power. Justice prevailed. The vote was not taken as the senators rushed back home to listen to the weeping of their wives and in the process heard the weeping of the wives of the poor and understood the pain their votes would have caused.

The church of Christ weeps together for justice and liberation from all that dehumanises. It is a church without Christ that does not weep and it is easy to become a church without Christ.”

Grace, Alan



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