This is an article I wrote just before Easter 2017. It remains relevant in the South African context.
The last week of March 2017 delivered a much scarier South Africa. President Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle on 30 March 2017 threatened to take state capture to a whole new level.
However, he did not reckon with the timely and graceful death of struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada and the horror, determination and drive which that platform unleashed.
We should not be fooled, however. This is not the worst government or the worst crisis the country has experienced. It cannot be compared with the horrors of the apartheid government and the despair felt by the majority of South Africans in the 80s.
The Church, and Christians generally, should certainly be asking what we can do. However, we should never lose sight of the truth that our salvation does not lie in the downfall of a president. Our salvation does not depend on the overthrow of a government. We may pray for both of those, as Desmond Tutu has suggested, and join with civil society to rally towards those goals, but that is not where our salvation and the salvation of this great land lie.
As we near the end of Lent and move towards Holy Week, we are reminded that our salvation lies with One who chose to give his life a ransom for many.
Nothing will change that. Whatever the government, whatever our physical, social and economic prospects for the future, our salvation is secure. And it finds expression as we pray and reach out to each other in love and compassion, listening to each other’s stories and sharing each other’s pain.
Let’s not rally together because our taxes are being wasted and our comfort is at stake. Let us rally together because we have cared enough to listen, and we understand the pain and hurt of those who are most affected, those whose pensions and childcare grants are at stake.