Sankofa: 29 June 2022

Sankofa: 29 June 2022

Thank you for the positive feedback for my first Wednesday musing. Some of you like the word, Sankofa.

Last Saturday and Sunday there were two significant events in the life of MUC: Community Mural Opening (26 June) and the Final Service in the Woodhouse Grove building (27 June). I know that Emma, my colleague provided inspirational leadership (with contributions from her team) for the Mural Opening event.

By the time you read this second musing, some of you might have received a phone call from a member of MUC. We are endeavouring to connect and reconnect with you once again. It’s so important to stay connected.

Talking about connection, I remember a scene from the Sidney Poitier movie ‘The Defiant Ones’ (released on 24 September 1958). A colleague introduced that movie to me years ago. I wonder whether anyone remembers watching that movie and this scene?

“Two convicts, one white, the other black, escape from a chain gang, manacled together. They fall into a ditch with slippery sides. One convict claws his way nearly to the top and out of the ditch but cannot make it because he is bound to his mate who has been left at the bottom of the ditch. The only way they can make it is together, clawing their way out, up and up and eventually over the side wall and out.”

I believe we are bound together, whether we are aware of it or not. And whether we like it or not. We are interconnected. God had bound us together. Martin Luther King Jr. also wrote about this connectedness in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail’: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” By the way have you read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail? It’s worth reading if you have not![1]

Even the Bible affirms our connectedness. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:26 are an entire sermon on mutuality: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” We are all indivisibly connected to one another.

There is another African word that I love: UBUNTU. I learned the meaning of the word ‘UBUNTU’ from Desmond Tutu’s book No Freedom without forgiveness.

“Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language,” he writes. “It speaks of the very essence of being human. Someone who has ubuntu is generous, hospitable, friendly, caring, and compassionate. It is someone who shares what she has. It is to say, ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life.” He adds, “It is not, ‘I think therefore I am.’ It says rather: ‘I am human because I belong. I participate, I share.’” Ubuntu speaks to the relationships between us. I am because you are. We are human together. We are interconnected. We are indivisibly connected to one another.

I hope you will ponder over this truth: ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’

I will be attending the coming Synod meetings (Friday,1 July – Sunday, 3 July 2022) in Box Hill Town Hall. The theme for Synod 2022 is ‘ARISE Come with me’ The 2022 Synod meeting will commence with an Opening Worship service at 7:30pm on Thursday 30 June at Wesley Church, Lonsdale Street Melbourne, when Moderator-elect David Fotheringham will be installed as our Moderator for the next three years.

… in the meantime, blessed be.

Rev Swee Ann Koh
29 June 2022