by Laurie-Ann Copple
"From a Rainbow to a Tapestry" - Laurie-Ann Zachar Copple, July 2021 (c)
Sometimes Tony and I attend Hillsong Africa church in the Somerset West location near Somerset Mall. Due to the distance from where we have lived in Worcester, it's difficult to go more than once a month. Covid restrictions made it even more difficult, but L-A in particular, enjoyed Hillsong Africa's "church-on-the-line" services as well as participated with Tony in Zoom calls with our Hillsong connect group. We were particularly excited when things opened up a bit (before the third wave hit). One Sunday they had a live worship team, although the sermon and corporate announcements were still a recorded message via "church-on-the-line" and it counted as a socially distanced watch party, with a live team. The air was electric with excitement, and Tony, Bella and I were drawn in by the live worship. L-A bounced, Tony's hands went in the air and Bella hopped around. We were teased by co-pastor Anneli, since we were in the front row, eager to worship. She said that it was an exciting thing to see seniors (Tony and me) in the front row, just lapping up everything that was coming from Holy Spirit and the speakers. Haha, it was fun.
During that morning, Pastor Phil Dooley shared about Hillsong Africa become a place where people who were traumatized by racial injustice, persecution, and violence could be safe and accepted. They also had interviews with several Hillsong "rooms," including the US East Coast hub-room, since there had been controversy there. There needed to be healing. So stress, injustice and racism became a theme that was openly talked about. They raised awareness, but also opened a channel for healing through pastoral care and journeying with people who have been hurt in this way.
So this was the wonderful context in which I received a powerful impression, which I have included in this article. As Pastor Phil shared about his wish for healing racial injustice to his parishioners who were suffering, I received this picture. Father God shared his heart for South Africa, and that he wanted to transform the Rainbow Nation from a nation of separate rainbow streams, to a tapestry, where every thread would count. The threads by themselves would be weak, but together, they would be strong. I wouldn't be surprised if God also wants to weave in threads of his love and faithfulness in that tapestry.
I have found that so many South Africans are open to the Gospel, and to Jesus. They say yes when we ask them if they would like prayer. It's easy to share your faith. We will miss this when we return to Canada. South Africa truly is a treasure in God's hands, despite the years of apartheid and corporate colonialism from those who founded the Cape Colony. That may be old news, but it's time for that foundation to be transformed in some way. Racism, tribalism (a pan-African issue), and hated must go.
May the Holy Spirit change hearts, and help transform all the issues as they are brought before Jesus, one by one. May the poor respond to God like never before, as he provides for their needs and more. May the middle class wake up out of tunnel vision to see others around them. May the rich realize that there is more beyond their bubble. Open their eyes, Lord. Open everyone's eyes to see your face in the least of these, and so be blessed in deep ways. Bring deep, meaningful connections between different peoples. In Jesus' name, Amen.