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, July 21, 2020, our theme is “Responsible Interdependence”.
Main Text: Romans 12:9-10
A basic definition of Interdependence suggests mutual reliance on one another. Broadly, this could refer to people, animals, organizations or things “depending on one another.” In human relations specifically, an “interdependency relationship” is “when two persons (whether or not related by family) have a close personal relationship, live together and one or each of them provides the other with financial and domestic support and personal care.”
The adjectival usage of “responsible” necessitates the understanding that one has “an obligation to do something, or [has] control over or care for someone, as part of [their] job or role.” In that regard, the quest for interdependence entails a deliberate realisation of divinely ordained obligations we bear towards one another.
Our text says—“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.”
Of significance is the double usage of the phrase “one another,” derived from the Greek ἀλλήλων “allelon;” “one another, each other; mutually, reciprocally,” occurring 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. Forty-seven of those verses give instructions to the church, while 60% are instructions from Apostle Paul. Fifty-nine occurrences are specific commands on “how (and how not) to relate to one another.”
These are imperative commands requiring our obedience, as they constitute “the basis for all true Christian community. That has a direct impact on our witness to the world,” as noted in John 13:35—“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It is said that the “healthiest” way to interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. Biblically, responsible interdependence is premised on our being inextricably connected as humanity. We have a debt of love to repay one another with demonstrable mutuality and reciprocity.
How can we do this more sustainably?
At a time when the world is writhing with the devastating effects of COVID-19, our shared humanness has inevitably emerged to the fore. We have witnessed inspiring acts of kindness and stories of triumph amidst tragedy. We have prayed for, and reached out to, one another in ways never thought possible, during one of the most crippling economic crises of our time. Such care for one another is exceptional and must be sustained.
Four lessons from Romans 12:9-10:
- Love, not Pretence, must be the foundation of responsible interdependency (V9a).
- Contempt for evil must be enhanced by embracing the good we have been taught (V9b).
- Loyalty (devotion) to one other must be welcomed as a hallmark of our shared togetherness (V10a).
- Selflessness and esteem for others must be espoused as imperative Christ-centred virtues to sustain responsible interdependency (V10a).
One third of the “allelon” commands teach the unity of the church, while another third instruct Christians to love one another. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers. This emphasis signifies an achievable call to responsible interdependence to enable us to become truly “allelon” prone!
Let those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, rejoice and be glad in You;
Let as love Your salvation and say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
Forgive us Lord:
- Where we have lied to one another, judged one another, bitten and devoured one another, been conceited, provoked and envied one another, slandered one another or grumbled against one another.
- Where we have walked in disunity because we have not been able to submit to one another out of reverence to God
- Where we have failed to walk in love toward one another
- Where have not walked in humility thinking of others as better than ourselves
Thank you, Lord, –
- For making us part of Your body and, through loving interdependence, people who see that we belong to You.
- For creating us to be interdependent on one another; we need one another to survive.
- That it is Your will to supply every one of our needs according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- That You give us the willingness and ability to walk in love, in purity, in selflessness, esteem and loyalty toward one another.
- For the challenge we find ourselves in during this COVID 19 time and the opportunity it presents us to express love and kindness toward one another.
Lord let the words of your servant Hezekiah Walker be our posture toward others always:
I need you; you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body.
Stand with me, agree with me. We’re all a part of God’s body.
It is His will, that every need be supplied. You are important to me,
I need you to survive. You are important to me; I need you to survive.
I pray for you; you pray for me. I love you; I need you to survive.
I won’t harm you with words from my mouth, I love you,
I need you to survive
We pray for the second round of Webinars that everything will come together well. We pray for the speakers as they prepare that God’s anointing will be on them. We pray that God would superintend over every detail of each Webinar. We pray for good participation and meaningful engagement and impact.
As Africans on the continent and in the diaspora walking in responsible interdependence, we declare:
- WE WALK IN LOVE (JOHN 13:34), IN PURITY AND IN RESPECTFUL REGARD TOWARD ONE ANOTHER
- WALKING IN HUMILITY (1PETER 5:5), WE LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER (ROMANS 12:16)
- OUT OF REVERENCE TO GOD, WE SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER ((EPHESIANS 5:21) AND HONOR ONE ANOTHER ABOVE OURSELVES (ROMANS 12:10)
- EMPLOYING THE GIFTS GOD HAS GIVEN US FOR THE BENEFIT OF ONE ANOTHER (1PETER 4:10), WE BUILD ONE ANOTHER (ROMANS 14:19, 1THESSALONIANS 5:11)
- WE TEACH, ADMONISH (COLOSSIANS 3:16) AND STIR UP ONE ANOTHER TO LOVE AND GOOD WORKS, ENCOURAGING ONE ANOTHER EVEN THE MORE AS WE SEE THE DAY OF HIS RETURN DRAW NEAR (HEBREWS 10:24,25).