November 2018 – Presence & Proximity

Presence and Proximity


This Sunday- the first Sunday in Advent- marks the start of the new church year.  The Advent journey to Christmas invites us to remember and anticipate the arrival of Jesus in the world.  As many of you would have been doing, over the past month or so we have been spending much time reflecting on the last year and planning for the coming one.  

In our commitment to seeing churches actively living out the justice and peace of God, the redemption story in Exodus has been formative over these past few months.  The book starts with a people who are oppressed and forgotten, experiencing the apparent absence of God in their lives.  God intercepts their story by declaring from the burning bush that Yahweh is the one who has seen, heard and felt their cries.  This moment initiates their redemption; a redemption that is spiritual, economic, political and social. 

In the face of extreme and systemic injustice and poverty, we often hear the question “But what can I do?”.  As a response, it is always important to find ways to place yourself and your church in proximity to the injustice such that you are able to join God in seeing, hearing and feeling the cry of the people.  As followers of Jesus, we want God to redeem the lives of those oppressed by injustice but all too often we think we can participate in this work without actually being touched by the lament of the situation.  

Jesus, in coming to proclaim salvation, arrives and immerses himself in the lived experience of what it means to be human, experiencing all that we experience.  This is the work that Advent calls us to.  The work of redemption is activated from this place, and our participation alongside God in the work of redemption in the world requires a similar immersion by us.  One way in which this can begin is by creating time to form genuine interdependent friendships with people most impacted by injustice and poverty.  To share meals in each other’s homes, to celebrate and lament together, to read the bible together learning from each context and to be vulnerable with each other.  This is the burning bush from which God’s call to participate in the work of redemption can most clearly be heard.   

Exodus ends with a people not entirely redeemed from their oppression nor yet the fully alive people of God.  But they are now a people amongst whom God is tabernacling, a people experiencing the presence of God in their journey.  In their redemption journey, there is a move from the absence of God to the presence of God in their lives. In our work as people and churches, we yearn, pray and are formed in such a way that Jesus is present in the midst of our work and of the struggle for justice. I hope that these four weeks of advent will invite you to remember the birth of Jesus and thus start a year marked by God’s presence experienced by you and your church community.

Craig Stewart


Explore some thoughts around faith and justice


The Warehouse Podcast

Check out our latest episode with peacemaker, activist and friend Jarrod Mckenna where we talk about listening, unlearning and the restoration of all things.

Sacrifical Lambs

Check out this powerful poem shared by spoken word artist Siphokazi Jonas at The Justice Conference South Africa 2018.

Exploring Esther

Listen to this challenging sermon shared by Caroline Powell where we are invited to re-look at the book of Esther and see some things that we may have missed.


Warehouse Happenings

The Warehouse supports local church congregations through enabling dialogue, facilitating collaboration, and inspiring hope-filled imagination towards justice-seeking action. Below are a few glimpses into ways we have sought to do this lately.

Church, Land and Spatial Justice

On the 24th of November as part of our post Justice Conference event series, Caroline Powell and Ntando Mlambo led a workshop exploring how the church can engage in conversations about land and spatial justice in Cape Town, as well looking at possible steps for how the church can engage this issue both theologically and practically

Seeking Peace: Pilgrimage Through God’s World

A brilliant new resource by René August which seeks to invite participants on a journey of exploring the story of God within the contexts of their communities, their history and their world.

Organising for Transformational Advocacy

On the 20th of November Craig Stewart hosted a workshop that explored practical ways of mobilising and equipping local congregations for the work of transforming unjust structures of society.


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