The African Forum on Religion and Government (AFReG) calls on all Christians to increase our prayers in this era of COVID-19. This week, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, our theme is “Ubuntu.”
“I am because God is and we are, and since God is and we are, therefore I am.”
The individual is a product of the community; and the community is made up of individuals that are inter-relating and pursuing development together.
When God asked Cain about his brother Abel, he in turn queried God with the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). He was, in effect, making a case for being responsible for himself, and no one else. It is the world of “I, me, my, mine.” God’s response overall was, “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.”
Jesus summarized the Law and the Prophets in what we have come to refer to as the Greatest Commandments: Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37, 38). Two related questions on the second of the Greatest Commandments are: 1) Who is my neighbor? and 2) What does it mean to love my neighbor? Jesus’ teachings clarify that your neighbor is the person in your life who is in need and is most unlikely to deserve it. The way to love your neighbor is to do to them as you would have them do to you.
The Books of Moses clarify what it means to live in community through God-instituted laws—spiritual, moral and ceremonial. Good communities are characterized by righteousness, justice, peace, interdependence and prosperity. Looking at this from the leadership angle, we measure the health of communities by the integrity, other-centeredness, fairness, and empowering capacities of its leaders.
The health of communities is measured by how much voice, care, support and opportunities a society gives to its disadvantaged—widows, children, orphans, displaced foreigners, etc.
The concept of Ubuntu sees each member of the society as both a product of the community, and an asset to the community. Individualism is promoted alongside responsibility to the community. Ubuntu thrives on the concept of universal brotherhood. We all belong together, first as fellow humans, and then as particular communities with common history, genealogy, language, needs and aspirations. Individuals who show promise are invested in so they can achieve greater heights for the common good of the community. Disadvantaged members of communities are helped so they can at least maintain basic human existence dignity. Those who are successful are supposed to give back to their communities so that others can also advance.
Ubuntu communities are in essence interdependent; one another’s keepers. The concept of Ubuntu is well captured in the statement, “I am because God is and we are, and since God is and we are, therefore I am.” Healthy communities recognize that they need to respect what each person brings to the community for their overall effectiveness. When one succeeds it is for the common good; when one suffers, all suffer. We thrive together through interdependence (1 Corinthians 12:26).
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. (1Chronicles 29:11)
Forgive us Lord where we have not walked in love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. (4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.)
That we live and move and have our being in God. (Acts 17:28)
That His purpose in putting us in different nations was so that we may seek after Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us. (Acts 17:24)
For the blessing of community in which we can feel a sense of belonging, find meaning and purpose, derive pleasure from fellowship, exercise gifting and graces, encourage and be encouraged to love and good works.
For eternity where the culmination of community in God will have its full expression as people from every nation and tribe and people and language, stand before the throne of God worshiping Him and declaring, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” (Revelation 5:9, 10)
Lord make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)
Focusing on Education and Technology in this week’s Webinar on June 17, 2020, we pray for God’s anointing on our presenters Mr. Erik Hersman, Hon. Dr. Olivia N. Muchena and Mr. Tewodros Tadesse Araya. We pray for Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah as he brings the Biblical reflection on the theme, and for Dr. Daryl Jones and Mrs. Martha Stevenson-Jones as they coordinate and moderate the session. We pray for meaningful and life-impacting engagement that will make a difference in those who participate. Pray against any technology glitches, confusion of any kind and/or lethargy in follow-up.
We declare as Africans from diverse communities across the African continent and beyond that:
I AM BECAUSE GOD IS AND WE ARE, AND SINCE GOD IS AND WE ARE, THEREFORE I AM.
WE DETERMINE THAT AS CHRIST’S BODY WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS, MINDS, SOULS AND STRENGTH, AND OTHERS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. WE LOOK OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE WE BELONG TOGETHER.
WE LEAD WITH INTEGRITY AND FAIRNESS, SERVING TO EMPOWER SO THAT THOSE WE LEAD MAY EXPERIENCE LIFE IN ABUNDANCE IN OUR COMMON UNITY.
OUR COMMUNITIES STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, JUSTICE, PEACE, INTERDEPENDENCE AND PROSPERITY FOR ALL.
WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LEAST OF THOSE AMONG US; THE WEAK, THE DISADVANTAGED AND THE DISENFRANCHISED. WE SEEK TO DEFEND THEM, PROVIDE FOR THEM AND EMPOWER THEM SO THAT THEY MAY LIVE DIGNIFIED LIVES INSPIRED BY THE HOPE THAT IS FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST.