Greeting from Bishop Malusi Mpumwlana

April 4, 2011

From Malusi Mpumlwana

A Greeting to the 2011 Solidarity Kairos Dialogue

Dear sisters and brothers in the solidarity of moment!

I write at the tail end of your dialogue, having missed the opportunity to
personally drink from the waters you have shared from your wells. I write to
wish God’s amazing grace on the fruits and lasting impact of these
deliberations on our hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). May
this solidarity dialogue, this communion of spirit, strengthen your hearts
and assure you of the certainty of the righteousness of God through the
freshness of God’s Word.

You have had the opportunity to drink in the refreshing waters of the wells
of Abraham our common ancestor in the faith. When I think of the symbolism
of drinking from the wells, given to us by Gustavo Gutierrez, a brother who
felt the need to own the theological wells of his spiritual drinking in the
pain of Latin America, I cannot help to think of the long road traveled by
my brother Naim Ateek – from Besan to the desert heat of painful
homelessness and statelessness in the hope of final justification and
restoration.

A thirst for own wells is the thirst that seized David while hiding at the
cave of Adullam in his flight as he yearned for his village waters:  “Oh,
that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of
Bethlehem!”(2 Sam 23: 13 – 17). But, David declined to drink the water once
it had been brought at the risk of his men’s lives; as he said, “Is it not
the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?”.

On the other hand, you meet to drink from the waters that no other braves
have brought out for you but yourselves, in responding to the challenge of
the moment. You bring your goat skins filled with the brackish water of your
wells of bitter experience, to be sweetened in this dialogue by the
solidarity of shared reflections on the current realities of our world, and
the words of hope and renewed energy in the common cause of a truly free and
just society. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing on “Life Together”, from his
Christian perspecive, says:

“The Christian lives wholly by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ.
…Because he hungers and thirsts for righteousness, he daily desires the
redeeming Word…In himself he is destitute and dead. Help must come from the
outside, and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus
Christ, bringing redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. But
God has put this Word in the mouths of others in order that it may be
communicayed to us. When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to
others. God has willed that we should seek and find his living Word in the
witness of a brother, in the mouth of (another). Therefore, the Christian
needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and
again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot
help himself without belying the truth…Christ in his own heart is weaker
than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his
brother’s is sure.”

May the waters you share in this dialogue, out each other’s bitter
experience, be to each other the sweet Word that God is provisioning through
each other for each other; to strengthen your hearts and assure you of the
certainty of the righteousness of God. May your goat skins be filled anew
with the freshness of God’s Word for you as you rise at the end of this
dialogue, and walk your different paths, yet bound together in a community
of ongoing momentous immediacy – the Kairos!

Dear Palestinians, Bonhoeffer was hanged, but Nazism was killed; Steve Biko
was murdered, but Apartheid was annihilated; Jesus Christ was crucified, but
His resurrection gave life to all whose experience of death in life is as
real as that Bonhoeffer’s and Biko’s. And so we say with confidence:
Palestine shall yet be free! Naim’s hope for the restoration of Besan will
be restored!

As Salaam Aleykum!

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana

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