Are God’s Arms Too Short? - Cape Town 2013 Project

It started with a 16 hour plane ride from JFK to Johannesburg and a braai (BBQ) with local church staff here at Common Ground church. It ends with a fuller grasp of the Gospel speaking into the racial brokenness & radical poverty in both our hometowns and with a plea for our God to accomplish what our arms are too short to do.

You know that song, “they will know we are Christians by our love”? The churches here in Cape Town live that out – partnering, collaborating, and sharing. Ditto for the NGO’s and non profits being the hands and feet of the local church to the 39% living below the poverty line.

We’ve been inspired by the lack of one-man shows and ego driven competition – there is a unity of purpose and direction here we can learn from.

You know what you hear about white sharks in Cape Town? Yeah, there’s a lot of them.  Big ones.  Needless to say surfing got crossed off the list. Fast.

You know Beyonce? During our week long Vacation Bible School in Khayelitsha (a township) we found her protégé boogying down to “I Love my Jesus Deep Down in my Heart.” Mom joined in the fun while she got her Capetown Cool (#CapetownCool) on with those famous blue glasses.

You know Nelson Mandela? He and Desmond Tutu are total rock stars. These two led the charge for peace and reconciliation in a divided South Africa. District 6 is where the government’s apartheid policy brought bulldozers and forced evacuations to create a “white area”.

You know what Tim Keller preaches about “justice as the index of real faith”? Believers here live that out. Our Redeemer team partnered with organizations like Network that help immigrants learn interviewing skills, Beth Uriel where wayward boys can find a safe place to live, The Ark where children come to a shack for after school programs…all strategic programs aimed at not perpetuating poverty but dealing with its root causes.

You know who we are at work and who we are on Sundays? Those should be one and the same. At Common Ground and Jubilee churches we shared our stories of how the Gospel informs our work via the ministry of competence.

Wally & Dad led a session for lawyers, Esther & Mom led a session for nonprofit / development professionals, and Marcia led a Twitter session. These Faith & Work events convicted us yet again of our call to view all work – on the mission field here and on the mission field of the marketplace, as God’s work.

You know how Germans say “Ja!” They say that here too. They also play rugby, which is why most of the men look like Vin Diesel. They also have good brownies with white chocolate chunks, which is why Marcia suddenly feels called to Cape Town.

You know the Gini coefficient? South Africa has the highest disparity level between the rich and poor.  20 minutes from Khayelitsha where families live in dumpsters you’ll find a Haagen Dazs.

You know how the official end to apartheid occurred in 1994? Apartheid means the state of being apart, aptly depicting our own separation from God. Jesus bridged that gap for us and we pray His presence will bridge racial barriers in the Bronx and here in Cape Town. He is able.
 
All in, these days in Cape Town remind us that “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” God sees the poverty, He sees the racial divides, He sees the labors of His children trying to repair what is broken.

Our arms are too short. His arms are not.