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Call to street faith

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by Oscar Allen 23.MAY.08

Two weeks ago, we had fishing peoples’ day at Calliaqua. That holiday, believe it or not, was in memory of another ‘fishing for people’ day nearly 2000 years ago. According to “Dr Luke,” it was a group of 100 plus out of town Galilieans, on fire for their slain leader, who blocked off a section of the city, power pointed a message that their Jesus was Messiah and Master, and persuaded and gathered into their camp, another 3000 plus persons.{{more}} That exciting street party was the first Christian fisherman’s day, the first global gospel fest, the first Jesus Pentecost. Dr Luke wrote his/her account of it in Acts, Chapter 2. It was a fisherman, Cephas, who did the feature address at that gospel fest.

That people’s movement, launched in the streets – its founder was reportedly born in a stock pen- has a message and mission that belong to the streets; the places where people, their problems, products, prejudice, potential, politics and promise encounter each other.

Jesus did die on the road, too, on skull heights. His was a God of the street who embraced prodigals and redeemed corrupt Mafiosi.

What that street movement has become today makes it hard to connect it with its out of order beginnings. It now conducts its street behaviour inside well decorated buildings, except for the occasional funeral procession inspired by African spirituality. The street fire and the street passion that called the Galileans to campaign for the heart rule of a deliverer and liberator has been quenched. The church, instead of being called out to challenge, transform and bless the streets, is being called to form xenophobic groups called denominations, each boasting of its own scripture verses and its own Cephas, or Paul, or Apollos or Mary. The street faith in Jesus abandons the streets and other faiths control the streets. The gospel of mammon according to the WTO or the marijuana plantation, the gospel of eat drink and party your life away according to deep porn, cocaine and strong rum and the gospel of thief, shoot and pay the lawyer. These gospels block the streets, the airwaves, the business deals, the play grounds, the interpersonal contacts and they win contracts and break people down and intensify evil. And yet the Galilean message is not in despair.

Have you recently watched and listened to the Galilean son of man interacting with broken people, pointing them to new life, larger visions and born over futures; sometimes at the risk of his own safety? He identified the streets as full of devouring wolves, and you know what he concluded? The harvest is bearing heavy, is only the labourers to reap, who are scarce. I am sending you (few) like lambs among the wolves! That is street faith – street challenge!

To those who were mentally, spiritually and materially diminished he said “Take up your bed and go, stretch out your hand. What do you want me to do for you? You must be born over; go and keep away from sin. Father forgive them!” Hear him ‘apologise’ to the Gentile woman and the official whose son was dying. Listen to him teach character: You can’t obey God and money; wash one another’s feet; love one another just as I love you; love your enemies; become just like your father above; don’t kill yourself to get food, your father is there for you, when you live by the sword, is so you will die. Now no one can live by these teachings unless s/he trusts the teacher profoundly. And those who trust Jesus in this way must become street faith sharers. Sister Lorna Small who in all likelihood was killed on the streets left this word with us: “we must take it -the message- to the streets”, (The message belongs to the streets).

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