September 13, 2020 by Kgalalelo
The year 2020 has been different from all the years I’ve lived. Never in my life have I experienced what we all are experiencing this year and even when I look at history, this year has been like no other. The world has encountered all kinds of diseases over the years, Swine flu, Ebola, Aids, and the like but we surely have never experienced a single disease that has shaken the earth like Covid-19 so far, in my books.
When God sent the ten plagues to the Egyptians in Exodus 7-11, it was nothing like the pandemic we are experiencing now and the plagues were only meant for one nation, Egypt. No other nation had them, and each one stopped the moment that Moses spoke the word from God. It must have been terrible for the Egyptians at that time and even worse the last plague when every firstborn son in Egypt died.
The angel of the Lord passed over the houses of Israel that had the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, which symbolised redemption (Exodus 12). Even then, only one nation suffered but in this particular year, every nation has suffered under the hands of a worldwide virus. How awful are the times we live in, leading to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ!
All we talk about these days are the number of daily infections, including deaths. We are careful to adhere to the law which allows only fifty participants or attendees at a public gathering.
When I think about this small number and the kind of funerals we are used to having as Africans in this country, fifty is a small fraction. Our funerals are huge, we usually have more than two hundred people at a single gathering. We usually slaughter a cow just to feed the multitudes considering that people travel from afar to pay their last respects.
I mentioned the funeral I attended last week Friday in last week’s blog and had to attend another two days ago. Although it had nothing to do with the pandemic, I still say there’s a quickening that seems to be happening and people crossing over to the spiritual realm in numbers this year.
There have been more deaths reported in the mass and social media than births and weddings. Attending different events especially funerals in my case this year made me think deeply about life and what matters the most. I feel compelled to change my way of thinking and long held beliefs about life and how I have been socialised.
As I get exposed to how other people do things, especially in our rainbow nation, I realise that mine is not the only way but there are many ways and it doesn’t make how others celebrate events wrong. We find pleasure in making others wrong by thinking that our ways are right all the time.
I had never been to a funeral where a person buries a spouse single-handedly without family members. It doesn’t matter whether you have been rejected or disowned by your family, when you die some of them will rock up at the funeral, I mean, its unlike a wedding where you can excuse people from not coming, it is the ultimate, death. You would expect that your sister or brother would show up but not at the funeral I was at, it was so weird to me and yet everything went well and the remaining spouse looked and sounded alright, knowing the circumstances that they lived under. The couple lived a happy life just the two of them and in death, it was just the two of them. They loved each other and were together everywhere.
I guess, your birth family is not the only family you have. Everyone can be your family as long as you have people who support and love you as much as this couple was loved and supported. There is nothing wrong, labelling it wrong is our greatest enemy. When you are happy with your circumstances or have made peace about them, nobody can do anything about it.
Many people around the world have been disowned by their families for one reason or another and they’ve learnt to live on their own and create new families either with friends, neighbours, colleagues or the congregation. We are called to love one another, bottom-line!
Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40 about the greatest commandment in the law, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Bible teaches us that those who’ve received salvation are not under the law but under grace. The Bible also says that those who hold on to the law will be judged by it. “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."(Galatians 3:10). Yet Jesus says loving God and loving another person as yourself are the greatest commandments in the law.
There is nothing comparable to love. God is love and love is God.
1 Corinthians 13:1-4 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing”. Nothing beats love and because of love, we are able to see each other as family.
Love transcends all our cultural codes and creeds, our biological upbringing and social standing. The bible says that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). It says further that, “But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”. Nobody can survive without love that’s why sometimes people say that they are lonely, they want to be loved and want someone to love.
We all have love in our hearts and we always have a need to give it to someone. Many are couples who follow each other shortly after the death of another and they make a vow never to marry again because they devoted everything to their partners. Love is the essence of God and therefore eternal. Some direct their attention to their children and dedicate themselves to loving them until they die.
The nature of love is to love and share this love with the world.
Jesus says love your neighbour as yourself. Your neighbour is anyone including the person who crosses your path every day and He says you should love yourself.
Love is everything, you cannot love yourself when you don’t love your neighbour and you can’t love your neighbour when you can’t love yourself. This is because God is love and what exists is the love of God inside us.
There can never be anything else except the love of God. The love of God inside us is the same, it recognises itself in another and it is not separate to itself. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ (2004). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB Copyright ©2016, 2018 by Bible Hub Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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