Saturday, May 17, 2014

Church's duty to Shepherd its Flock

The Zimbabwean Media has been awash of reports that Churches are mediating in the MDC-T squabbles and one thinks this is honourable. What is disturbing is that there are insinuations that it is not proper for the Church to shepherd its flock which are in dire straits.We read in one article Bishop Sebastian R. Bakare, Rev Dr Levee Kadenge and Rev. Useni Sibanda have been asked by opposition leaders to sort out their problems.

Should it be like that? It is the duty of shepherds to shepherd the flock. They do not have to be invited. When pastors wait to be invited when they know there is fire in a certain corner then they have lost their mandate. We want to believe that the above mentioned church leaders are taking their role as church leaders serious when they choose to play a mediating role. Their mandate is an inherent part of their vocation and does not need to be given to them by anyone. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” (Proverbs 31 v 8-9)

The danger in most congregations is that people are going to churches for mass prayers. They jump and forget for a moment the issues that the nation is facing. A spiritually given need to jump is as good as a dose of opium. Zimbabweans should ask what is their mission in a situation where there is no tolerance, no justice and no peace. We need leaders who do not take religion as an opium of the people. Very few Zimbabwean Christian leaders believe in the values of the gospels which are justice, peace, love, care for one another and reconciliation. If we do not preach about this we have lost it.

Christ was concerned about the daily needs of the people. Look at Him, he cared for the needs of people. Some people are afraid of preaching the gospel of change which was the benchmark of Jesus. What we need are Christian men and women of courage. People now thrive in corruption. There is chaos in Zimbabwe. We complain of police harassment and who is preaching against this? We are busy preaching about the peripheral. The prophets of today are preaching a comfortable gospel.

Zimbabwe is full of people like those watching a football match. If they see a handball they start making noise. Give them the ball to kick a penalty they will shoot it in the wrong direction. Zimbabweans claim to know a lot but know very little . They criticize others and yet do nothing. Show the small contribution that you are making. Not to condemn what others are doing. This is our time. We have to do the little we can do, and God will do the rest.

The ruling Party ZANU PF, the opposition MDC-T and others should not be denied pastoral care. Pastors are shepherds of all and sundry. And no one should tell them where to go and where not to go. It is a noble idea for Christian leaders worthy their call to try to find solutions when people are not in agreement. Unless pastors show the way-who can? What lacks in Zimbabwe are Christian leaders with courage to stand up for what they believe.

Some of the disturbing headlines say that the Church is organizing the opposition to topple the ruling ZANU PF government. What does this mean other than inciting for intervention of the ruling party so that the men and women of the cloth are stopped from doing their work. If political leaders refuse help from their shepherds we are instructed to wash our feet and leave.

The Shona people have a saying that chisingaperi chinoshura (everything has an end). What is permanent in life is change. All these political parties will one day have their day. This is what we pastors should know and tell people. We feel sorry for some who think they are there to stay forever as parties. Such people need pastoral counseling. For one day they will be shocked to death when what they thought was everlasting crumbling like a deck of cards. +History has taught us that those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Whoever has an organization or a party should know that it is a question of one’s turn of having squabbles.

What are factions if not sources of squabbles. There are even factions in families, in Churches and in the community. Church leaders should always be prepared for intervention. The Gospel of pretense that has been preached should be discarded. People are bombarded with the gospel of prosperity as if to say that that is the whole gospel. There is daylight robbery going on in this nation whereby people are robbed of their hard earned moneys in the name of riches and prosperity to come in the name of the gospel. The Church should speak openly against this daylight theft.

We need to preach against corruption that even some of our leaders including the president has been very much against. The media has on this score has been forthcoming on exposing the glaring corruption in the nation. Most service arms including the police, many service providers are demanding bribes for something that should be done freely. We are yet to listen to sermons preached against these practices.

What legacy are we living as men and women who are living at this critical time of our nation? Our grand children will ask, “Papa, what did you do when there was chaos? What was your contribution? I hear that people are saying there is corruption, what are you doing Papa?” Unless people are doing something they might as well shut up.

Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

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