Walking to Church

In Permaculture, we have a phrase: “Create a niche and something will move it.” Kind of a “build it and they will come” mentality. Prep the soil, put some seeds in the ground, then watch the rain come.
I’ve seen this principle function in other areas of life, as well. Like moving into Maseni.
For one year we’ve vacillated between churches. One was lovely, but too far. Not being in our community, we felt we couldn’t pour ourselves into a church community and the people in our neighborhood.
Then we went to a gathering of some foreigners, missionaries, with a few Swazis mixed in. While a very nice refreshment of church in English and fun fellowship that’s comfortable, it still wasn’t in our community.
Then we went to Glorious’ church, which is the next town over. The people were great and even some of our Swazi friends are apart of that gathering. But again, it was a 20 minute drive.
Prepare the ground and the rains will come.
Then we moved to Maseni in November and started settling in January.
Today, we attended church IN our community, a full 10 minute walk from our house. In a building that has concrete block walls, no roof, a weedy floor and holes cut out where windows should be. Instead of pews, the men sat on left-over blocks, or wooden stools and (2) plastic chairs (reserved for the preacher and the oldest man). The women squashed ourselves onto grass-woven mats along the dirt, stretched in the smidgen of shade, and threw an extra lihiya (sarong) over our legs to keep the scorching sun, from, well… Scorching!
We sang songs in siSwati, led by our friends. We listened to a preaching from Corinthians about how we’re to be reconciling people to God and each other. And how our lives are to be real and set-apart from the world.
Afterwards I met the wife of a man we’ve known, spoke to someone about purchasing some seeds from them, visited with the pastor’s daughter, met another friend on the way home, and greeted our neighbors all along our walk home.
Less than 3 weeks after we started “moving” into the nieghborhood, the niche has been filled. The rain has come. The people gather.
This church is a baby-sister to the gathering of folks in the next town over. The one where Glorious and lots of our Maseni friends go. With a new pastor, came his dedication to bringing the teachings to people IN their communities. Therefore, he preaches 3 times on Sunday, traveling to 3 locations, keeping things prompt (wow!).
I do not think our Christian lives begin or end in a church building.
I do not think going to church on Sunday saves your soul.
I do not value a building for church, although I value shade!
However, I value people coming together, professing our brokenness, praying for each other, that we might be healed (James 5). I value walking to church because it means my neighbors are who I’m doing this faith-journey with. And that we can share all that we have, so there’s no one among us with need. And that as we see whose not joining us, we can intentionally seek them out. And love them. Not to convert them. Not to convince them of our way, but to ask questions and enjoy life with them. To love them and share the WHO behind our love.
At times, when you just show up, have an idea of what might look nice in the garden, and start preparing the soil. Sometime the rain blesses you with its falling. And you can just tip back your head, look up, and say, “Thank You.”

Categories: Kingdom Coming Related, Social Justice, Swaziland Updates | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Walking to Church

  1. Pingback: Platform: Gaining One Worth Having, and Keeping One Worth Preserving | ...to the least of these...

  2. Tammie

    Wonderful!!! Love it!

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