Tag Archives: Africa

The Mountain

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The tabletop

The banqueting table of God

The Mountain

Around which, life happens

Above which, streets bustle

Against which, all vistas are set

In relation to which, directions are given.

Wherever you are in Cape Town

You can look up

To see it towering above.

In many cultures and countries

Mountains are sacred

A meeting place with God.

Directing our sight upwards

Above the everyday hum-drum

And hassle of the streets

Above our concerns and cares

Upwards to see

An awe-inspiring constant

As life and death, joy and suffering

Shift as shadows

Around it.

Even when covered with cloud

We are aware that it’s there

Can sense it without seeing it

The Mountain

Proceeding and more permanent than humanity

Rising above the man made structures

Keeping us from over-estimating our race.

A silent but strong prompt

To lift your eyes

To know where your help comes from

To remember the greatness of the Creator.

His constancy

Majesty

Faithfulness

Centrality.

And yet

Unlike the mountain

He isn’t cold, removed

He steps down

Gets involved in everyday life.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

We often need something

To lift our sights

To raise our hope

Wherever we live

Mountain or none.

What prompts you to look up?

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” – Psalm 121:1

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

A Spacious Place

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table mountain 2

The light here seems brighter

The differences seem starker

Yet mingled in poverty

Hope and kindness shine

As I look to the mountain

I remember from where

My help comes.

As I look out to sea

I remember the vastness

Of His love.

This is my spacious place

Here

There is space to breathe

Here

My soul tells me

I am at home

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

A thousand stories

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St Augustine says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” But when we do travel, the pages fly. Each moment a new story, each day a new chapter. And without each one, the book is not complete. And so I soak up every word, every face, every name. Each pair of eyes I look into is another line written in my book and another way I will never be the same again.

Burundi was many things. It was Love in a glass of water. It was Peace in a litter of piglets. It was Hope in a marketplace being rebuilt.

Fiona Lynne

storyteller

I want to continue to share with you a few posts by friends who traveled with me in Uganda and Burundi. Mostly because they write so beautifully but also because I haven’t managed to write up as much as I had hoped yet and I don’t want you to have to wait too long before hearing about our experiences.

So here is a post by Fiona Lynne about the many people and stories we encountered in Burundi.

Walking the Straight Paths

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“But there in a secluded part of Burundi with an oppressed minority group, walking toward a well that will change their lives in more ways than I can tell, I saw the verses in a new light.”

Here is another post by Leigh Kramer about our trip to Burundi. I hope it gives you a taste of some of our experiences. You can read Leigh’s post here.

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Article in  magazine on June 25, 2013

By Leigh Kramer | Twitter: @hopefulleigh

Cooking up something good

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“Life-changing doesn’t always mean we’re given a step by step, detailed plan. Sometimes it’s the flash of an insight, a heart pounding idea, a sense of what’s to come.” – Leigh Kramer

Photo by Idelette

Our hands after a henna session in Burundi. Photo by Idelette

I want to share with you below a blog post written by a friend I met at Amahoro Africa in Uganda. I flew home from my trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi on Thursday and my mind is still buzzing with the colours, the people, the conversations. I really resonate with a lot of what she’s saying. I’m also finding it hard to articulate stories of my time away, especially when you can tell that some people who ask ‘how was your trip?’ really only want a nugget and then to move on in conversation. And yet there are precious friends who listen for the longer stories, ask the deeper questions and in reward get the deeper answers, and in those conversations I feel heard and loved and I myself make realisations about what it all meant and what I have learnt and what I still need to process.

Like my friend Leigh, I also knew really strongly I needed to go on this trip and that it would be significant and yet even now I’m not fully sure how it will be significant. She describes a time on the trip when a few ladies sat together and described how they were feeling in a word and explained it. We did it often, almost every day and it really helped me to articulate and even realise for myself how I was feeling. Towards the end my word was ‘intrigued’. I’m really intrigued to see what God does with these connections. I’m intrigued to see what will come out of this trip. When I described it to my mother she said it’s like walking into a room and smelling delicious food cooking. I know God is cooking up something good for me, I can sense it, I can smell it. I don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the table yet but I know it’s going to be good.

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You can read my friend Leigh’s post here

Stories that need to be heard

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I want to share a post written by my friend Nicole Joshua, writing about her experience at Amahoro Africa 2013 in Kampala, which finished yesterday. I echo her thoughts. So many conversations that have opened up my mind to the realities in different African nations, both the tragic and the hopeful. My heart is now more connected to Africa because it connects with individuals living in these realities.

Stories that have not been told but need to be heard

Today I heard stories about a country that I had always thought of as a sleepy nation, a peaceful people that grow really good tea. And then I had a conversation with someone from that country and who painted a very different picture.

I heard stories of high levels of child sexual abuse and not many, or almost no, convictions because of high levels of impunity for perpetrators. I heard stories of a church that supports the government’s attempts to suppress the truth about trauma associated with ethnic violence and conflict, about pain unacknowledged as a result of a civil war because of a desire to forget the past. I heard stories about corruption that appears rampant, with no hope of things changing.

And yet, I heard stories of hope,…. read the full post here

Colour

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During our writing workshops this week at the Amahoro Africa Gathering in Kampala, we were given the task of writing prompted by the word ‘table’ and then choosing one word from that piece to write further. This is what I came up with.

TABLE

As I come to this Amahoro table, a place of discussion and conversation, am I really welcome here? People smile and greet me warmly and yet at different times there are things spoken about colonialism with a negativity of damage caused, arrogance flaunted, of lines drawn in ignorance and presumption. There’s conversations of greed in the West and the lack of willingness to share. Do I represent all that to them?

I see all this, I can see it in history and yet here I sit in my own skin, feeling a little ashamed, wishing I was a little darker. Wishing my skin colour didn’t associate myself with so much injustice.

But is there something positive I can bring? Even something positive my colour can bring to this table?

I love this continent and feel more at home in South Africa than in the nation of my birth, a truth about me that a first glance wouldn’t tell you – people only get to know that when they get to know me well. Luckily this is a space where that can happen.

COLOUR

Colour. Bright colours: a rainbow striped umbrella used as a sun shade, a red tomato, green trees, blue skies, painted houses, patterned clothes. Where colour is an indication of life, of joy, of fun, of child-like exuberance.

And yet colour in South Africa seems almost a dirty word. Something that should be about beautiful diversity has become boundary lines of difference, of fear, of pride, of separation, of anger. Lines drawn and scratched in deep with injustice.

As I sit in my own skin, my own colour, I find myself sitting on one side of a deep line and wishing the lines were dissolved.

I wonder how it can happen. Maybe it starts with real relationship, real friendship, knowing individuals until you see the inside of them more than the outside.