mathabelazitha/the anvil :BY ZIFISO MASIYE
And he spoke of our deeply divided nation and the ugly spectre of terror, violence and rule of fear that is returning to haunt our lives, the random ascendancy of anarchy and lawlessness; a sense of spontaneous vulnerability that engulfs you when you go to sleep as it does when you wake up. Of plunder and dissonance, discord and toxic power factions and of the bankruptcy of peace and unity, of the dearth of love and common purpose, he spoke. A bitter and divided nation, said the Servant of the Lord, is the Devil’s favourite playground.
Like Paul did in his time, I too plead with you brethren, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that “…may you all speak the same thing, and that there are no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind. For it has been declared to me concerning you my brethren,…that there are contentions and quarrels among you…each saying “I am of Paul”, or “I am of Apollos”, or “I am of Cephas” or “I am of Christ”, Now I ask you, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul?”, so he asked them.
And the Servant of the Lord challenged the church: Why do you come into God’s house and divide it into cliques and quarrelsome little fiefdoms that worship mortal men and dwell on divided loyalties? If we can’t unite and find peace here in the church, how can any of us expect to bring peace to the world? Why do you allow destructive elements in your families to spread malignant rumour and plant seeds of hatred between brother and brother and between sister and sister? And if you annoy and hate each other in your living rooms and family chat groups, how can you bring peace to the church?
And why must sons born of your own wombs terrorise you and hack the heads of their own mothers with machetes? Except that you are a nation divided against itself, why would your homes and safe havens be infested by social strife and so-called MaShurugwis?
And why should a nation so mature in years, and in Christ remain at the mercy of tribal warlords, weak and dysfunctional leaders, tossed to and fro and carried about with every blowing wind, by the trickery of self-serving men, in their cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting — without one unifying vision of nationhood, unity and peace, the peace that Jesus bequeathed us free of charge?
Is your flag divided, brethren? Where is your peace and loyalty to humanity? Does your identity card bear the name of some politician or party? Or does it bow to your nationality, Zimbabwe? Who can successfully invite you and convince you to hate your own brother or fellow citizen whom God commands you to love? For what price, brethren?
And these things, said the Servant of the Lord, are at the very core of the quiet fear and silent rage of our troubled nation, and the church must not remain quiet about them. For peace is not the same as silence, brethren. Abakhulele ekhaya lokhu bayakwazi, bangakufakaza. Umfula oyingozi kawunyakazi. Uthule cwaka! The river is at its most dangerous when it is dead silent. It is unwise to mistake the absence of noise, in a nation with so much internal constipation, for the presence of peace and stability. There’s a certain quality of silence in the face of every man’s wife that he knows signifies supreme peace, joy, happiness and a great night. There’s another type of silence in the same face, that he knows is only a storm brewing and waiting to explode!
And Padre Tito said to them, I remember the sincere quality of joy, peace and laughter that rang through the roof in our poor and humble days growing up.
Sasidlala ibhola leplastic yempuphu! We neither had TV nor video games. In many respects we and our families were surrounded by real life storms, but in the midst of the storms our souls were pure, our lives so connected, and our peace so complete. But Alas! Look at your homes today, Oh brethren. You’re spoilt with riches and abundance, yet you’re all disconnected, annoyed with each other and have no peace in your hearts. Happy to chat on a phone screen with a stranger a million miles away, yet unable to sustain a decent hour’s conversation with your sister, your mom, your brother or your wife right next to you, across the lounge! How many know or bother to know their neighbour’s cries and fears!
For verily I say unto you Disciples of Peace… You cannot bring peace to the world when your hearts and homes do not know true peace. The anger and absence of peace and sameness of mind that grips the nation is only a perfect mirror of the spirit in your homes and neighbourhoods. And the Christian community must bear the brunt and carry the torch. And behold, it is not enough for the baptised and sent to simply carry the message of peace to the world, as does a postman delivering letters, but like Jesus, you should seek to be the peace itself.
The message and the messenger are the same. Walk the message of love and peace. Be calm and reassuring, make your attitude and your ways, your conduct and your deportment speak peace, even in the midst of the rat-race, the jambanja and multiple storms that surround us. Let the troubled commoners look at you and feel hopeful of the future.
Did not, in supreme calmness the Son of Man say to them, in the midst of strong winds and a storm, Do not be afraid, it is I?
Why therefore are you, disciples of today, so overwhelmed and so consumed by our storms and leading the panic and purveying fear to the world? Why aren’t you inspired by the Holy Spirit to focus the troubled minds of the people beyond the storm?
So said the Servant of the Lord, Unless He reduced Himself to the form and character of mortal men, unless He faced the self-same storms and temptations that you and I face every day, Jesus would never have accomplished His Father’s mission in the world. Now I say to you, brethren, unless we, the disciples that are baptised and sent deliberately elevate ourselves to the spiritual level of our Master and emulate His supreme state of love, we cannot be the ultimate example of peace in the midst of our storms. Without demonstrable exemplars of God’s peace in us, our sworn mission with humanity is a mission in vanity. The fruits of our peace must be evident wherever we go, whatever we do and whatever we say.
And He said to them, Brethren, when I move amongst you, all of you repeat the same cry, “Mayee! umhlaba wonakele mfundisi!” But I say to you, Besides you and I, who is this creature called umhlaba? The peace of the world has not been stolen by wild animals, birds of the air and trees, it has been destroyed by men of flesh and blood, it is destroyed by you and you and you as I face you right now! “Umhlaba” is a glorified excuse to push the problem to some nameless source, away from us!
The wonderful resolutions and plans you made for your families are all in vain if your families are Whatsapp slaves, TV addicts, but personal strangers. And indeed, without sincere and enduring peace, built on a collective deference to the national flag and a commitment to inclusive equality, effective consensus and mutual respect, the devil mocks you. All your economic development dreams will go up in smoke!
My peace I leave with you.
l Zii Masiye (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes elsewhere on social media as Balancing Rocks.