Celebrates Twenty Years of equipping and supporting faith communities!

A message for the week starting on Sunday 06 November 2022

Lectionary Week: 22th Sunday After Pentecost
Prescribed Texts: Haggai 1:15b – 2:9, Ps 145:1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17, Luke 20:27-38

Focus Text: Haggai 1:15b – 2:9

“Nothing About Us Without Us” 

“Nothing about us without us” has become a much more popular statement in the post-apartheid era. The slogan is used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by that policy. Furthermore, the idea of meeting around the table to talk about what are perceived needs versus what are real needs, is crucial in any intervention. 

The text is talking about the temple that lies in ruins and that God is instructing the prophet to speak to Zerubbabel and Joshua to see to the restoration.  While the temple is God’s house and a place of worship, God instructs them to speak to the priests to give them direction. We see how God applied this principle in this case. The priests will not be the builders, yet they stay in the temple and work in the temple and they understand the Mosaic law and were therefore consulted for input. 

Years ago, I volunteered for an NGO that had an OVC (Orphans & Vulnerable Children) program. Funding was received from Germany for huge food parcels for child-headed households and children who lost their parents and where grandparents, uncles and/or aunties, were taking care of the orphaned children. Upon delivering a food parcel, one of the grandmothers thanked us, but the words that followed stuck in my mind to this day: …” as much as I appreciate and need this food, what I want more is for you to visit me and sit here and talk to me.” We made the mistake of deciding that the food parcel was the greatest need.  We therefore returned to the drawing board and started a support group after consulting with the beneficiaries.

Jesus Himself, knowing very well what the vulnerable wanted, used to ask: “What do you want? Strangely, He never asked: “What do you need?” In this way, He was actually “consulting” with them.

To think about: As believers, we often judge our fellow humankind for “wanting” and we claim that needs are more important, at times even deeming a “want” as being wrong and selfish. In the above example: the need for the food parcel was there, but time spent actually listening to those affected, was something that they wanted more. Time is not always money. Let us use our time in consulting before deciding. “Nothing about us without us.”

Written by: Ms Maxine Oppelt, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator