By DEREK RUMBOL
Tuesday 28 July 2020
AMOS : 5 v 7,11.
There are certain anniversaries I usually remember but one which crept up on me this week was the 30th June. What was so special about this one you may ask. No, not someone’s birthday but the 60th Anniversary of Independence for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was formerly the personal possession of King Leopold of Belgium who inflicted savage treatment on those who failed to collect the required amount of rubber. It then became a colony of Belgium at a time when Britain, Germany, France and Portugal were all staking their claim to portions of the African continent.
It so happened that Brenda and I sailed for Congo and worked there or had close connections with the country for the next 30 years. Sadly we witnessed gross corruption from top down and incompetence in ruling the country through lack of preparation and education for the general population. It has to be said that interference from two major powers contributed to malign interference in policy making so that they could gain the advantage in the cold war raging at that time. Mineral wealth can be a curse as well as a blessing.
It was in this setting that we worked with the church to encourage them in being the people of God seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Rev Dr Marini, president of the Church of Christ in Congo/Zaire, preached powerful sermons on the book of Amos and had them printed for powerful leaders. He castigated those who “turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground; who trample on the poor” (see Amos 5:7,11 – but also the whole book of Amos). Perhaps unsurprisingly he had to flee for his life through justified fear of imprisonment, torture and death.
So we pray for that country, along with other countries with similar deep needs, and we pray for God’s church that they may be salt and light in their communities. Let us also pray for rich and powerful countries including our own in the ways we use power.
“God of justice, Saviour of all, came to rescue the weak and the poor
Came to serve and not be served. To act justly every day
Loving mercy in every way. Walking humbly before you God.”