Invisible Geography

“May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.”

John O’Donohue

In the month of April have seen snapshots of the invisible, the inconceivable and the unimaginable become visible, tangible and real. Our Heavenly Father certainly deals generously in making the impossible possible.

A friend gulping down a big slice of pie. Two weeks before this was almost unimaginable as he had not been eating, except for a few bits of bread. Aggressive chemotherapy had robbed him of his appetite. But there he was eating the pie with such delight and finishing every last crumb on the plate.

A friend holding her new born baby. A year ago she was not sure if she will ever fall pregnant and have a child of her own. But there she was breastfeeding her precious, perfect baby girl.

A friend arriving at her surprise bridal shower. A few years ago she had broken free from a destructive relationship but never thought that she would ever find a person to share her life with again. But there she was being showered with gifts and preparing herself to be a bride, a wife anew.

A group of 25 diverse individuals sitting in a room talking openly, respectfully, honestly about the “hot topics” of the day in South Africa. Who would have thought it would be possible for us to be so vulnerable? But there we were, listening to each other speak about white privilege, land, power, fear and the pain of the past without becoming defensive, sharing the same desire for true reconciliation in our country.

In these snapshots, I have seen “dead shells of yesterdays” shattered. I have seen the invisible become tangible in front of my very eyes. Hope restored in my heart. God glorified. 

Two things seem almost unimaginable to me today: A South Africa truly restored and reconciled, and secondly, a truly South African church, authentically African, authentically Christ-following, deeply reconciled to God and each other. This is our “invisible geography”, our “new frontiers”. We desperately need to break free from the dead shells of yesterday. We need change. We need to take the risk of being disturbed.

And I pray (with John O’Donohue), “Father, give us the courage to waste our hearts on fear no more!”

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