Remembering the rhythm of our togetherness

Laurie Gaum

“God was pleased to have all God’s fullness to dwell in Christ, and through him to reconcile to God self all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1: 19-20

For a long time too many reasons have been found in our country to exclude – to keep things and people separate. We have emphasised almost solely the differences between people. But this has caused devastation as it broke people’s lives into millions of pieces – it caused widespread fragmentation and destruction in our society. Today we want to make another choice – we are seeking a new vision: We are remembering the rhythm of our togetherness.

We come from a beautiful but troubled mother Africa. The gift that we got from this mother of ours, is a gift of wholeness to the whole world. But this mother carries within her the scars of her distortion and her fear. She has almost forgotten her dream of ubuntu; her passion has devoured her; she has all but forgotten her beauty.

In traditional African cultures and religions one finds an appreciation for community. Harvey Sindima of Malawi says of it: “The African idea of community refers to bondedness, the act of sharing and living in the one common symbol – life – which enables people to live in communion and communication with each other and with nature”.

How necessary it is in our time to re-find this rhythm of togetherness – of that which needs to be held together rather than be kept apart. Things like body and spirit, male and female, humans and nature. Drawing too strict lines between these things causes hurt. We’ve just seen it again being played out on the body of Caster Semenya.

A biographer writes about Brother Roger, the founder of the Taizé community in France, that he "always thought that Christians would be reconciled by broadening their horizons, by going out to those who differed from themselves, by being open to non-believers, by carrying the preoccupations of those who were in difficulty and by being attentive to the poorest of the poor. It was the vision of reconciliation of the whole of humanity which made the effort of striving for reconciliation between Christians worthwhile".

Surely this gives us an agenda to work for. Like Brother Roger we should have a reconciled world in mind. This means amongst other things that peace needs to be made between the sexes and sexual orientations. Sometimes we need to piece the fragmented parts of our lives and our world together to bring about the healing which our society desperately yearns for. Perhaps we should start by sharing the stories of spaces we find where we have encountered and created this healing?

Lord, make us the bread of life and the water of forgiveness and reconciliation as we share ourselves in the struggle against oppression, hopelessness and fear. We proclaim a vision of diversity and hope and our responsibility to share in this vision. Amen.

Painting: "Togetherness"
Acrylic, 12" x 12"
© Nicole Shaw 2003 – LINK



One response to “Remembering the rhythm of our togetherness

  1. My life has certainly taken a turn for the better when I decided to focus on the things that unite people, rather than the things that divide them. I’m now in the very privileged position to have friends across the boring old human-made divides – and it’s enriching! What saddens me, is that churches in South Africa seem to be almost the last outpost of treasuring these silly divides, where they should be THE places where love and acceptance rule. Fear stands at the centre of human-made divides – fear that difference on whatever level will erode who we think we are. Overcome that fear, find strength in your own uniqueness and embrace that of others – it’s a liberating experience!

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