“GRACE be to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come, from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
“To him who loves us and freed us from our sins with his life’s blood who made of us a royal house, to serve as the priests of his God and father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” – Rev 1:4-6.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) feels obliged to write a Pastoral Letter to its members because of the two following national concerns:
1. The notion among some citizens who seemingly act to dishonor the policy of national reconciliation.
2. The continuous unethical behaviour of some citizens who go on public and attack their leaders.
ELCIN wishes to sincerely thank her members for their strong commitments in fulfilling the great commandment of Christ. It is our Christian duty to love one another.
Christ said: “The great commandment I give to you is: Love your neighbour as you love yourself” – John 13:34. This commandment is a great command that all Christians have to fulfill.
Such commandment is the light and the torch of the society. It should kindle the flames of fellowship and companionship. It is in the light of this commandment that we are witnessing the spirit of oneness and childhood of God, in this world.
During the colonial era, Christians in Namibia were motivated by the spirit of oneness and childhood of God to stand together as one people.
Under the guidance of the spirit of God, the Christians confronted the then South African government to claim their rightful heritage, namely their God given land.
The Lutheran Churches’ Open Letter to Mr John Vorster in 1971 is one of the examples. The Namibian churches played a significant role to exercise their prophetical ministry and acted as the voice of the voiceless.
The road to Namibia’s independence was not an easy one: it was a long and bitter journey. Yet, we thank God because it was also a journey full of God’s amazing grace. It is through this journey that God paved a way throughout and took Namibians safely where they are today.
We Christians, however, are neither angels nor heavenly beings. We are the earthly folks that are called by the Spirit of God from the world, and are still guided by the same Spirit of God here in this world.
We are called from the world and sent into the world. We have our shortcomings too. Besides our shortcomings, we are a justified community under the amazing grace of God.
This amazing grace is seen through the teachings of forgiveness, acceptance, and reconciliation. Christ, the Prince of peace and the architect of reconciliation, urges all people to forgive one another and live in harmony with one another. Forgiveness brings genuine peace:
“You should forgive your brother/sister seventy times seven” – Math 18:22.
The acts of forgiveness are unlimited and equal to the fullness of a human’s life span. The acts of forgiveness imply that our life span is a life under the gracious acts of God.
St Paul put it correctly when he wrote: “God was in Christ reconciling the people to himself” – 2 Cor 5:19. God was not only in Christ reconciling the world, but He also entrusted his people “with the ministry of reconciliation” – 2 Cor 5:20.
Christ forbids us to retaliate, but delegated us with the ministry of love and reconciliation. St Paul urged all Christians to work for reconciliation: “Accept one another as Christ has accepted us, to the glory of God,” – Rom 15:7
Thanks be to God, who has guided the founding President of Namibia, Dr Sam Nujoma and the members of the Central Committee of SWAPO Party, in 1989 to establish and announce the policy of national reconciliation.
For us Christians, reconciliation is deeply rooted in Christ’s prayer on the cross at Calvary: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34.
The ministry of reconciliation is a welcomed declaration that closes the dark chapter of pain and suffering of the past history. At the same time, reconciliation opens daily the new page of peace, love and justice for a better future of this country.
ELCIN honours the ‘Policy of National Reconciliation’ as a complement to Christ’s living gospel of reconciliation.
ELCIN acknowledges with gratitude to God who gave Dr Sam Nujoma, the Founding President, to the Namibian people, under whose leadership the Namibian nation went through a peaceful transition of power, and is still enjoying peace and stability.
Therefore, we owe him our sincere appreciation, as the African saying declares: “Waa pandula ono yaka.”
ELCIN also observes with great dismay the bad behaviour among some Namibian citizens who publicly go to the media to attack their leaders. These actions are not in the spirit of the Christian and ethical standard, and such actions should be avoided.
ELCIN strongly regards the action of the National Society for Human Rights and other collaborators who want to take to court the father of the nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, to be judged at ICC, as unethical and unacceptable.
It causes harm to the self or to the Namibian society, and it is a threat to its peace and stability.
ELCIN profoundly appeals to all her members to show full respect to all their leaders, because it is our Christian duties to give them honour and respect: “Obey your parents, for it is right that you should do so”- Eph 6:1.
God has promised to offer prosperity, a long life full of peace, tranquility of mind and the land to those who honour and respect their leaders.
So, Christians in Namibia are therefore sincerely requested to live up to their faith according to the Holy Scriptures that they may live well in their land.
In so doing, the peace in Namibia will continue to flow like the rivers, and will water the spirit and mind of Namibian people so as to enable them to seriously adhere to the policy of national reconciliation.
ELCIN calls on her members to be calm and constantly to pray for the peace of this country. September 2007 is considered to be a month of prayer for peace and stability.
ELCIN clearly states her openness to discuss these serious national concerns with both church and community members who seek to do so.
The Church will listen, discuss, and together attain the amicable solution in such conflict peacefully.
St Paul exhorts us to overcome evil with good. – Rom 12:21. In Christ we are more than conquerors. “The fear of the Lord is the mother of all wisdoms.” – Prov 9:10
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holly Spirit be with you all now and for ever. Amen.