Wednesday, July 28, 2010

...when the morning comes..we will tell the story of how we overcome.

I recently was part of the backroom team working in a SA/Namibia camp with young people from various countries. They came to serve, to learn and to experience intercultural living together. It wasn't possible all the time. The Rwanda group were not allowed to enter Namibia and Lesotho. I was then asked to prepare an alternative program. My colleagues and friends, Natasha Felix and Malin Fisher (young pastors) and our faithcommunity and youth in Riverlea joined hands. This was hard work, but not impossible. Yet, emotionally it was gruelling; it sucked us deeper and deeper into the cesspool of injustice. Whilst our European friends were welcomed with open arms, because they are able to pay their way (and indeed they are welcome), our very own sisters and brothers, in the wake of the African World Cup were stopped at the borders and send back to where they came from. Soon it dawned on us: Fellow poor Africans were not welcome in fellow African countries; money are!

This experience pulled us deeper and deeper into their experience, into their pain. Deeply spiritual in their approach to this injustice, they would remain strong and dignified. They would smile bravely and continued to walk tall. They remained true ambassadors of a world, few us us are familiar with and then, when we concluded the camp, this weekend, oh my word, our friends stood up sang this song. Its a song written by perhaps the father of gospel music, Charles A Tidley, a son of a slave Albert Tidley and freewoman, Hester Miller. He taught himself how to read and write and eventually he became a pastor of a church, where he was first a janitor. Amongst others, he wrote a song 'I'll overcome Someday' (1901), which many years later inspired the popular struggle song, 'We shall overcome'. Our friends from Rwanda however sang, 'By and By', which may inspire another struggle. They sang,
Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
All the ways God would lead us
to that blessed promised land.
But He'll guide us with His eye,
And we follow till we die;
We will understand it better by and by

Often our cherished plans fail'd
Disappointments have prevail'd
And we've wandered in the darkness,
heavy hearted and alone,
but we trusting in the Lord,
And according to his word,
We will understand is better, by and by

By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home
we will tell the story how we overcome
we will understand it better by and by
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