Kicking against the goad

It was a heavy shower and now it was evening and the sun made its final appearance.  As I looked I saw a flock of storks flying past in formation.  The sun caught their white apparel and they looked like a pearl necklace streaming in the sky.  As I watched a second necklace appeared and then a third and a fourth. Then it was all over.  I stood and wondered at this gift of nature given without introduction, without purpose and without price.

‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God,’ Hopkins tells us, ‘it will flame out, like shining from shook foil.’  The poet goes on to wonder why ‘men do not reck his rod.’ Why do people not draw lessons from the sufferings of so many of our contemporaries?  We have a beautiful world, filled with resources for the livelihood of every person and yet we do not see it.  We do not take action so that all can find their place at the banquet of life.

I have lived in and out of Zimbabwe for 53 years.  I still remember the stunning beauty of the colours when I first arrived.  After the grey skies of Europe we stepped into the clear blue world of Africa.   And though it was the dry season, there was colour everywhere: trees, shrubs, flowers.   It was also the dry season of politics, less than a year after UDI – the act that severed the country from the community of nations then painfully seeking a shared new identity after the horrors of World War II.  Made the way I was, I thought I would receive a cold reception at the school where I was to teach, but the warmth of the welcome seemed in tune with the bright colours of the land.

But it was quickly apparent I was living in two nations: one governing and hiving off the bulk of the resources for its own benefit, the other governed and without a voice to demand an equitable share of those resources.  The inequalities were not resolved even after a terrible war of our own and to this day the inequalities persist.  The governing and the governed are still far apart.  It has become a habit to live that way.

Yet, as milk oozes back into a drained udder, so the strength of people to insist on what they want is constantly renewed.  When Ezra read from the Book of the Law ‘the people were all in tears’ for they recognised the gap between what the Law taught and what they lived. When Paul fell off his horse outside Damascus he realised he was ‘kicking against the goad’, he was resisting what he knew in his heart he ought to be doing.

This drama, of ‘push’ on one side and ‘resistance’ on the other, is being played out on the streets of Harare.  Alex Magaisa has likened the whole process to slow rather than micro-wave cooking.  It has certainly been a long time since the cooking began.  Meanwhile the storks raise our eyes to see that our struggles are in a world charged with God’s presence.

27 January 2019                      Sunday 3 C

Nehemiah 8:2…10                  1 Corinthians 12:12-30                       Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

Post published in: Featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *