Church must embrace duty to shepherd the flock

The media has been awash with reports that Churches are mediating in the MDC-T squabbles. What is disturbing is that there are insinuations that it is not proper for the Church to shepherd its flock, which is in dire straits.

We read in one article that Bishop Sebastian R. Bakare, myself and Rev. Useni Sibanda have been asked by opposition leaders to sort out their problems. Should it be like that? It is the duty of shepherds to shepherd the flock. They do not have to be invited. When pastors wait to be invited when they know there is fire in a certain corner, then they have lost their mandate.

We want to believe that t church leaders are taking their role seriously when they choose to play a mediating role. Their mandate is an inherent part of their vocation and does not need to be given to them by anyone.

Gospel of change

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” (Proverbs 31 v 8-9)

We should all ask what is our mission in a situation where there is no tolerance, no justice and no peace.

We need leaders who do not take religion as an opiate of the people. Very few Zimbabwean Christian leaders believe in the values of the gospels – justice, peace, love, care for one another and reconciliation. If we do not preach about this we have lost it.

Christ was concerned about the daily needs of the people. Look at Him, he cared for the needs of people. Some people are afraid of preaching the gospel of change, which was the benchmark of Jesus. What we need are Christian men and women of courage. People now thrive on corruption. There is chaos in Zimbabwe. We complain of police harassment and who is preaching against this? We are busy preaching about the peripheral. The prophets of today are preaching a comfortable gospel.

Zimbabwe is full of people like those watching a football match. If they see a handball they start making noise. Give them the ball to kick a penalty and they will shoot it in the wrong direction. Zimbabweans claim to know a lot but know very little. They criticise others and yet do nothing.

Show the small contribution that you are making. Don’t condemn what others are doing. This is our time. We have to do the little we can do, and God will do the rest.

Pastoral care

The ruling party Zanu (PF), the opposition MDC-T and others should not be denied pastoral care. Pastors are shepherds of all and sundry. And no-one should tell them where to go and where not to go. It is a noble idea for Christian leaders worthy to try to find solutions when people are not in agreement. Unless pastors show the way – who can? We lack Christian leaders with the courage to stand up for what they believe.

Some of the disturbing headlines say that the Church is organizing the opposition to topple the government. What does this mean other than inciting the intervention of the ruling party so that the men and women of the cloth are stopped from doing their work? If political leaders refuse help from their shepherds, we are instructed to wash our feet and leave.

Change is permanent

The Shona people have a saying that chisingaperi chinoshura (everything has an end). What is permanent in life is change. All these political parties will one day have their day. This is what we pastors should know and tell people. We feel sorry for some who think they are there to stay forever.

Such people need pastoral counselling. For one day they will be shocked to death when what they thought was everlasting crumbles like a deck of cards. History has taught us that those living in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Whoever has an organisation or a party should know that it is a question of one’s turn of having squabbles.

What are factions if not sources of squabbles? There are even factions in families, in Churches and in the community. Church leaders should always be prepared for intervention. The Gospel of pretence that has been preached should be discarded. People are bombarded with the gospel of prosperity as if to say that that is the whole gospel.

Daylight robbery

There is daylight robbery going on in this nation whereby people are robbed of their hard earned money in the name of riches and prosperity to come in the name of the gospel. The Church should speak openly against this daylight theft.

We need to preach against corruption. The media has been forthcoming on exposing the glaring corruption in the nation. Most service arms including the police and many service providers are demanding bribes for something that should be done freely. We are yet to listen to sermons preached against these practices.

What legacy are we leaving as men and women who are living at this critical time of our nation? Our grandchildren will ask, “Papa, what did you do when there was chaos? What was your contribution? I hear that people are saying there is corruption, what are you doing Papa?” Unless people are doing something they might as well shut up.

Most Zimbabweans are like spectators who are cheering without playing ball. When the few who are participating try to do something they are labelled as belonging to this or that camp. Everyone is trying to be a referee. Why not come in the game and score! I would not be surprised if most of the cheerers will miss the penalty and shoot over the goal post.

We need both viable ruling and opposition parties. This is what is good for the nation. It is healthier that way. Parties should then compete in doing good for the people. It can be done if only we support each other’s efforts.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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