05/05/2019  I ran across a story about an anthropologist’s interaction with a group of children in Africa.  He placed a basket of fruit near a tree and told them the first one to reach the basket would win the sweet treats.  On the signal to run, the children all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat in a circle enjoying their reward.  A child, responding to the anthropologist’s query about running as a group, simply said, “UBUNTU.  How can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”  In the children’s Xhosa culture, UBUNTU means “I am because we are.” 

In this simple, yet complex, culture, a great world malady resolves in the microcosm of this Xhosa world.    Our world seems to revel in the joy of one, the great achievement a small group has that exceeds others’ efforts, puts them societally “ahead of the game” of life.  I see each day what one working against the other creates, the schism of rivalry, of “my way or the highway” running rampant across the land, blowing like a wind-less blimp and limply professing “I am…the best.”  Yet those of faith, those grounded and founded in the promises of Jesus, in mirroring His giving/sharing life, understand His kneel to wash the disciple’s feet, realize reaching one hand up to God and the other out to those around creates a marvelous bounty. A cruise through Facebook brought another story to light, one so appropriate:

On a Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer.  The deacon stood, bowed his head, and said, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.” The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going.  The deacon went on, “Lord, I hate the lard.”  Now the pastor was totally perplexed.  The deacon pressed forward, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour.  But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I just love the biscuits.” 

“Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making.  After You get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen”

Our church home’s MET process moves forward, steps into some of the “lard” issues that need addressing in formulating difficult questions for a new shepherd for our flock.  We will be perplexed about issues – what to do?  We’ll stir around a bowlful of “floured” ideas.  The oven may get overheated and have to cool a bit to get better results.  But through all, we have to blend in the faith that God will mix all our smatterings into a pretty good biscuit-like plan.  His warmth, His “cooking” with the help of our hands will provide our need. 

UBUNTU – “I am because we are” will maleate into “We are because of the Great I Am.”  May God continue to touch, to flavor our pastoral search. submitted by Dave Smith