Grace and peace to you …
On 18 May 2008 Alan wrote the following letter to the Calvary Methodist Church congregation during his time of ministry in Midrand:
The violence this past week towards foreigners in Alexandra has been terribly frightening and casts a worrying cloud over the peaceable future of so many of our communities.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Xenophobia to be the ‘morbid dislike for foreigners’. The extent of xenophobia that seems to plague so many of us – yes us – is alarming. At present there seems to be a morbid dislike for Zimbabweans – ‘coming to take our jobs, our women, our opportunities, cause trouble and commit crime – they should go back to where they came from’. Well that is the sort of stuff I have heard – yes personally heard – and it frightens me.
It frightens me because it seems that we have forgotten that we are all family – the human family. That the Apartheid between nations is an Apartheid system that will also one day crumble – because Jesus has prayed that we all be One like he and his Father are One – and nothing is going to stand against that prayer forever. It frightens me because it seems we have forgotten that our deepest identity does not come from which country (piece of God’s earth) we have been born in, but rather from the image of God that is carved at the core of each of us. It frightens me because making foreigners into scapegoats for our problems never helps us solve our problems. It frightens me because it seems we have forgotten so soon how our neighbours assisted many of our people who were once in exile – assisting with jobs and education and opportunities to develop in order to have skills that will one day be fruitfully employed when they return.
May God cleanse our thoughts and mouths of the morbid dislike of foreigners. Alan.”
Although it appears as if little has changed since 2008, there are those who are brave and saying NO to XeNOphobia and continue to welcome the foreigner among them! Please continue to pray for courage and God’s grace to help us embrace the Holy Trinity – the widow, the orphan and the foreigner – among us and stop our ‘morbid dislike of foreigners’.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they know
the unutterable beauty of simple things.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they have dared
to risk their hearts by giving of their love.
Blessed are the meek, for the gentle earth shall
embrace them and hallow them as its own.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness, for they shall know the taste
of noble thoughts and deeds.
Blessed are the merciful, for in return theirs is
the gift of giving.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall be
at one with themselves and the universe.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is a kinship
with everything that is holy.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for
righteousness’ sake, for the truth will set them free.
~ F. Forrester Church