Thursday, December 31, 2009

parting words for '09

As 2009 fades away, I am remembering a number of incidents within the past year of rescue, deliverance, salvation from evil. Perhaps we should not need the presence of evil to remember the goodness that surrounds us; yet that goodness appears brightest against the engulfing darkness that might have been. Similarly, one may know that he is called to a particular work in ordinary times; yet experiences of rescue strengthen confidence in the call, for the loss that almost was seems as gain for what will be.

Tonight I want to register my gratitude for God's protection and provision in our life, and pray that that gratitude might not run dry amidst the challenges of 2010.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

calling out gifts

Last week at church the pastor called up our Isaac and his Lilitha to stand behind the table as the offering was brought forward. When he had counted the money, he told Isaac how much was there and Isaac told the congregation. He then announced that Isaac was going to pray over the offering. We waited, wondering how our shy boy would handle this sudden elevation to leadership. The pastor stood patiently and silently while Isaac found his words. The pastor then thanked him and repeated to the congregation that Isaac had prayed: "God, bless everything we do."

The pastor didn't ask. He didn't question whether he would be able to do it. He simply brought him forward and expected him to find the gift within himself. And Isaac did it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cheap grace?

Last year we reported on Isaac's preschool graduation and wondered about the purpose of caps and gowns and graduation speakers for preschool children (preschool graduation) This year Moses graduated and we again had to wonder. Was it simply teaching the kids cheap grace?

The long day, which started late and then had 5 speakers before the designated guest speaker, was harder to take this year. What I used to be able to count as cultural experience is now simply wearing. And as I watched Moses climb across the backs of the chairs in his cap and gown and Mona Lisa pick her nose with the lace on her dress, the whole thing seemed like a huge farce.

But when the long day was over and the kids had (finally) been served lunch at 4:00, Moses told us: "I just could not stop smiling, I liked wearing that hat so much." We told him that he had to work really hard in school for the next 14 years and then he would get to wear it again and there would be further opportunities to learn and be rewarded with a cap and gown. Maybe it is worth it for that.

Every preschool in the city does the same ceremony and many, many kids have parents who never graduated from highschool. Hopefully wearing the cap and gown will serve not as an end. Hopefully it will inspire a desire to learn and achieve that will take them further and further as they realise their own potential.

Moses, Nanda, Thina, Siyamdumisa, and Ndinako with their certificates

The graduates with their teachers - Titsha Sibongile and Titsha Thethelwa