The Lord’s prayer in South Africa – an introduction

I still remember
standing in the long queue on the day South Africa celebrated OUR first
democratic election.  It was my
first vote.  What a privilege it
was to cast it in that decisive moment. 
But that was 15 years ago.

A lot has happened since
then. A lot has not.

I am a follower of
Jesus.  And when I look at the last
fifteen years in my own journey with Jesus I woke from a terrible sleep – the
sleep of racism, classism and segregation.

I have a dream of an
integrated church in South Africa .

Recently I spoke to a
group of community health workers who devote themselves to caring for the poor
and destitute in Cosmo City and Utsoseng.

Together we explored the
most explosive prayer ever prayed. 
It is the Lord’s Prayer. 
During our conversation I asked them a simple question, “If a white
person has personally asked you for forgiveness for what happened during
apartheid please raise your hand.” 

Out of sixteen people
two raised their hands. 

We are fragmented.

Our “Rainbow nation” has
a bank of clouds above it obscuring the rainbow. 

But there is hope. 

This hope, I and a few
other friends believe, is to be found in Jesus.  In following Him we believe there is redemption for the
oppressed and the oppressors in South Africa.  We believe that we can reclaim a shared humanity and become
whole again.  We are sure that this
will not be easy.  We know that we
will make a lot of mistakes.  We
know that it will take time.  We
know that some will dismiss our dream as idealistic or fanciful.  We know that people from the oppressor
and the oppressed camp will critique us. 

We know.

But we are willing to engage, to learn, to put
ourselves out there.

We dream about a new
humanity in South Africa. 

We dream of an “OUR”
that crosses racial, ethnic, economic and religious boundaries.

We believe that Jesus
can help us through what he has done and what He still does.  Together we want to explore the prayer
he taught us to pray – for in it we find a rhythm of reality that can help us
become a new OUR.  In this series
of reflections we will work through the Lord’s Prayer.  We want to challenge you to gather in
groups of at least four and not bigger than twelve.  We believe that the exploration of this prayer will be most
fruitful in diverse groups.  Women
and men, black and white, rich and poor, English and Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu,
Sotho and Shangaan … you get the idea.

Here is the prayer of
Jesus … Take some time to pray it out loud …

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

As we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For your is the kingdom and

The power 
and the glory forever.

Amen.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Tom

    I dream of an integrated South Africa …

    bless you, bro.

    Reply
  2. What a privaledged to have been woken up, and to dream of a united, included , new kind of humanity

    Reply
  3. and not just to dream, but to try day by day, to be less, and to allow God to make it true in our lives

    Reply

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