Monday, 11 April 2016

'God shone' at Lusaka Cathedral - Blogging from ACC-16

Photo: Green Anglicans
The rain heard our prayers for Sunday. As the opening Mass was held outdoors, it could have placed a dampener on the service but it held off.

Words can't describe the beauty of the service held outside the Cathedral – the various attires and vestments, and people of all ages. Green Anglicans have posted pictures which give a glimpse of this beauty. It was good to see Rachel Mach and some of the young Green Anglicans from our Province there.

I can only sum up the glorious Mass by saying, “This is the day of the Lord and we rejoiced in it.” From where the Primates sat, we saw tent after tent filled with people. The series of processions were an Anglican pageant at its best, led by various bands and servers. I was tempted to say those verses in Revelation, “who are these, robed in white...” After an hour of well-executed processions, four and more if the many bands are included, the Mass began.

The ululating and applause at various parts of the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon and the speech by President Edgar Lungu characterised the day. I lost count of how many different choirs sang; we experienced a variety of beautiful song and dance. I love Anglican liturgy, it was what drew me to the ordained ministry, and the flow enabled by its structure held everything together, including the song, the dancing and the speeches. God shone.

Photo: Ian T Douglas
Reflecting on the lessons, and the context of Britain, Zambia and the global church, Archbishop Justin reminded us of the righteousness of the God who calls us to go into the world, not to flatter the strong but to serve among the poor and weak. We were to go out in joy and tell the story of Jesus and his saving love.

After five hours, we finally sat down for lunch. As President Lungu left, I spotted one of my favourite leaders, Zambia's founding president, Kenneth Kaunda. I managed to stand to shake his hand, thanking him for his courageous leadership that led to our liberation in South Africa. He has aged and is visibly bent now.

The leak of the Panama Papers has been on my mind and I hope to follow how the British Parliament will deal with Prime Minister Cameron's  acknowledgement that he held offshore investments. I also want to learn what the resignation of Iceland's Prime Minister means. This learning is key to our public theology, as we in South Africa hold President Zuma to account. What can we learn from other nations on kingdom values and political values?

I had a long siesta and much-needed break after the service, recalling the prayer I said during the Mass:

Photo: Green Anglicans
“Righteous Lord, thank you for the fellowship and ministry that we share together as your servants. Give us strength, humility, wisdom and courage to share with all your story of peace with justice. Enable us to speak where others fear to speak, to walk where others dare not tread and to act where others do not. 

Thank you Lord, for our unity in Christ. Give us joy and determination to maintain this unity of purpose within our Anglican Communion. Make us celebrate our diversity even as we continue in intentional discipleship. 

We pray for all Anglican Communion networks and for countries where the Communion is present, especially countries in conflict. Give us renewed courage to radiate your love, care and  compassion and to seek your righteousness. Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.”


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