AFRICA STEP FORTH IN FAITH
07 – 12 – 2008 Bulletin
The 9th General Assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches AACC opened in Maputo with a message of hope; “Africa step forth in Hope.” Such a theme is a reminder of the huge responsibility that the Christian Church has in reshaping the African continent for the betterment of our present and future. The theme is a theological reflection on the acclamation of Jesus, “Lazarus come out,” (John 11:43), when he stood face to face with the grave of Lazarus. Such a message is indeed a wake up call to the African Church to be the visible and audible presence of Jesus the Christ to a hurting and despairing continent. Can this theme be the spark that will ignite a genuine prophetic witness?
The message of the 9th General Assembly constituting service resounded with a desire for renewal and relevancy: “Jesus restores life to those whom he resurrects,... In Jesus Christ the power of death is defeated,” declared the Rt Rev Dr Nyatsako –ni-Nku. The bishop went on, to argue that “too many people enjoy unnecessary superfluous life…”, while the challenges of decay face the church. “Jesus wants to set people free from being prisoners of fear, dear and failure,” declared the preacher. Can this be the beginning of honest, faithful, intelligent and practical sermons??? Surely, we have to move on to better preaching, better organizations, value laden worship, relevant religiosity and service. Such worship and service will indeed be an action of faith and courage: “Africa step forth in faith.” We do not need to be prisoners of our dogmatic teachings, prisoners of our archaic traditions, prisoners of our faithless fears, prisoners of our sins and prisoners of our shadows.
The challenges of faith and being Christian today relate to our ability to critique the socio, political, economic and cultural practices that tend to dehumanize the beauty of our relationships in our families, communities, societies, states and in the global environment. Sadly, the manifestations of tensions, wars, and genocide in our beautiful continent are a clear testimony that the church has not been a means of grace. The message of Christ must indeed be a ‘painful’ reminder to those who claim to love and follow Christ, “Tend my sheep” (John 21:17). In order for the Church to remain relevant there has to be a clear commitment to “…Step forth in faith,” the faith that propelled Jesus, the Christ, to shout out for justice and mercy: “But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice , mercy and faithfulness.” (Matthew 23:23b).
Let the 9th General Assembly be a path breaking assembly redefining the “Mission Dei” (Mission of God) through the church and setting up a standard that will reincarnate the church amongst real people, real situations and real challenges. God bless Africa and the Church (people).