via The President’s Speech – The Zimbabwean 24 September 2015 by Ngomakurira
Much ado has been made of the President reading the wrong speech. It prompted me to recall the first time I heard him speak 41 years ago.
You could hear a pin drop in the hall as he caught our attention with his crystal clear analysis of the situation then (1974).
“If we have to go into detention again we will!” Ten years later, as Prime Minister, he landed by helicopter in a swirl of dust on the playing field at St Paul’s Musami and addressed thousands at the Catholic Youth Congress. Again we had a clear and inspiring message about becoming involved in development.
But then, over the intervening years up to the present – though the speeches continued – my attention lapsed. The gulf between the spoken word and action of the ground widened. There are many reasons for this and I do not go into them here. Suffice it to ask how it is that our high ideals often get grounded in the sand?
We run into obstacles and we do not know how to work through them. We either avoid them or bash our way through them. Either way leaves the roots of the obstacles intact.
If we turn to the gospels we see how Jesus dealt with obstacles. He never wavered but “set his face like flint.” He neither avoided them nor did he force his way through. He suffered them. The greatest obstacles he met were the leaders. They listened to him but only in order to trap him in his speech. They were not open to his message. So what did he do? Call down fire and brimstone from heaven? Not at all! He endured the consequences of their opposition. He showed that endurance, even if it meant death, would bring new life, new energy and a new vision.
In fact, a new person emerges from the “seed dying”. It is the central point of Christian faith that “losing one’s life leads to finding it” while those who “cling to life lose it.”
If we have not understood that we have understood nothing. This has often been missing in our post-Independence history. People – far from being prepared to “lose their life” – have been intent on “enjoying the fruits” of that life. We have centred on ourselves, our relatives or our group and ignored the many at our door also hoping for a taste of the fruits. The result is we have lost the plot, lost the vision and we are swirling around like the water in the boiling pot at Victoria Falls.
The disciples didn’t like it when Jesus told them “the Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men.” They couldn’t take it. But he never wavered. He went straight up to Jerusalem and faced all the implications.