10.02.2008

walls [peace]

"no longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.  The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
Isaiah 60:18-19

there are a lot of walls here in cape town...a lot.  i'm not sure why but i haven't really paid much attention to them until the last couple weeks.  perhaps it is because these walls have begun to manifest themselves in both the physical sense and the spiritual sense.  

crime is prevalent here. i have experienced this first hand. but beyond that, the chains of crime have taken hold and have tightened its grip on the city of cape town and the whole of south africa. there is an evil stronghold that is present here and comes in the form of crime. 

this stronghold has caused the building of walls.

everywhere.

walls surround the homes of the rich.  neighborhoods are riddled with walls and fences and security guards.  and these walls have created walls in the hearts of the people.  people have built up walls in their hearts toward other people.  trust is a commodity and it has been clear that it takes a lot of work for trust to be build and friendships to stick.  the word "neighbor" really does not exist in the subdivisions where the well-to-do reside.  people do not open up to one another...they do not share...they do not go out after dark...they do not spend time outside their gated and walled-in kingdoms.  they are perfectly sufficient with their separate and individual lives.  people have given in to the reality of crime here and thus are always looking over their shoulders...and do not feel safe...until they are secure behind the high walls of their palaces.  

to many...trust does not exist. 

and yet, in the townships...where crime plays a significant role in the daily lives of people...where women wonder if it is safe to walk around at night...where zimbabwean men considered aliens in this country do not stray from their yards because they do not belong...
this word "neighbor" is beginning to take hold...slowly...but it is there.

one man named Elias told me the other day that ever since a group of men began to meet together in his home (a former bar none the less) on saturday nights (the highest crime night of the week) a presence of peace has begun to settle in and amongst his home and the homes surrounding his.

"my neighbors are settling down," he says

"my landlord has told me he admires what we are doing and tells me that something is different here," he tells me.

"people are beginning to wonder about this peace," he rejoices.

and do you know what?  it's true.

there is a presence of peace in this small section of masi predominantly populated with zimbabwean outsiders.  there is something different here.  

there is peace here. 

and do you know why that is?

because "God is not a God of disorder but of peace." (1 cor 14:33)

his presence brings peace...and rest...and it breaks down walls and replaces the walls of brokenness and sin with fortified walls of salvation and blessing...walls that are from him...and gates that welcome and bring wholeness.  

peace is overcoming disorder on luntu street.  and these men, these brothers in Christ are committed to seeing this peace grow.  they will write love on the walls that still exist in masi...and they will be posted on these walls, crying out for God to spread his peace throughout this place...to replace the disorder and chaos that crime has caused...to break down the walls of deception and mistrust and will replace it with a presence of peace...and of joy...and of trust. (isaiah 62)

these disciples from zimbabwe are becoming neighbors...neighbors to one another...to those living on their street...to masi.  

there is hope here...and the walls are coming down...

and He is rebuilding them with his grace and salvation and hope...

...and i think it is beautiful

3 comments:

Emma Witkovsky said...

I love to read about what you have been experiencing. I miss the place, but I enjoy more, of reading/hearing how God is working there, and how you are able to experience it first hand.

marcy said...

Brad - give elias our love and tell him he is a hero to us. Our hearts are bursting with graditude to have walked alongside these courageous people. They are the face of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome to hear!! God's peace is like none other! Thanks for sharing what is going on. Praying for you guys!
ap