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Saturday 28 October 2017

Thandi Gamedze

What We Are Dreaming For

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1: 1-3

These words never fail to inspire. Faced with some rather bleak-sounding scenery, God hovered over it all for a while, and then out of this void, spoke the earth into being. No details about this hovering are mentioned, but I like to think that it is in this time that the universe was actually created. That the hovering itself was a magnificently creative process in which all that exists now was formed inside of God’s heart. Only in the wake of this inner creation, were the generative words spoken, and what had up until then existed only as God’s dream, manifested in the natural, in the form of the sun, moon and stars, the oceans and the land, the plants and the animals, and those made in God’s image. As creative beings fashioned by the hand of the Great Creator, we too have the responsibility and privilege of dreaming up universes, and speaking them into being. In this season we as the Warehouse have intentionally sought to ‘hover over the void’, engaging with narratives of darkness and pain, remaining in the spaces of disequilibrium, and out of this place some dreams have been birthed in our hearts

We dream of seeing the church step into a greater role of advocating for the plight of vulnerable groups. Scripture illustrates situation after situation in which Jesus advocated for the vulnerable and marginalised. His teachings and actions disrupted the prevailing systems of power, and centred those who had been relegated to the margins. What would happen if we intentionally did the same as the church today? If we made spaces in our communities for society’s most vulnerable? If we centred the voices of the marginalised? If we made a point of naming and disrupting oppression in all its forms?

We dream of seeing the church engaging deeper in questions around its role in spatial injustice in South Africa. The church in South Africa collectively owns a huge amount of land, which opens up significant potential to make change in the spatial injustice so present in our country. Already we are seeing local churches grappling with questions around what restitution could and should look like, and creatively dreaming about possible uses of their resources. We dream of a society where the church becomes the example of radical restitution.

We dream of seeing right relationship across colour lines in this country. With the incremental shattering of our collective rainbow tinted glasses, it is generally accepted that although apartheid technically ended in 1994, for most, little has changed. Racism and discrimination continue to find different ways to manifest themselves, begging the need for radical healing of the wounds inflicted by our brutal history. We long to see true reconciliation that is not mere lip service, but that represents deep work and intentionality.

We dream of seeing less-resourced church leaders and churches becoming sustainable. Due to the deep inequities in our country, pastors of churches in less-resourced communities not only cope with the demands of ministering in the context of an overwhelming burden of poverty and continuous trauma within their congregations, but also live with and through the consequences of this reality themselves. Resources of many kinds are stretched thinly in the exact places where more are needed. A key mandate that we have as the Warehouse, is to see local churches become powerful forces against all kinds of injustice in their communities, and we recognise that this transformative role is very difficult to play when church leaders are struggling with their own sustainability and that of their church communities. We dream of beginning a sustainable church leaders’ initiative which will provide a platform for restitutional justice and partnerships with church leaders in addressing this.

These are some of the things that we feel that God has put on our hearts for this next season. We are excited for the time that we will be able to look back and see what he has done in these areas, and look forward to the next phase of reimagining the society that we live in.

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