Act of scandalous grace is just what we need in troubled times


Act of scandalous grace is just what we need in troubled times

A communion between Christians, Jews and Muslims could not have come at a more critical time in our history


The entire scene last Friday night was improbable. Here the son of evangelical parents, Abraham and Sarah, was addressing a crowded synagogue of Jewish believers from the Wynberg Shul and Muslim believers from the Open Mosque. This was scandalous. In fact my message was simply that. Grace is always scandalous or in the more expressive Afrikaans version of the word, skandalig. There are few places on the planet where this communion between Christians, Jews and Muslims would happen in such a public and profound way.

The Jews had invited the Muslims to break fast with them in their holy month of Ramadan. They in turn would join their Jewish brothers and sisters in a lively celebration of Shabbat. Between the two ceremonies a Christian was to address them on the subject of grace. But first I took in the rarity of this moment, its global significance in troubled times. At that moment I felt the goose bumps on my skin and lump in my throat. This is what I always dreamed of for our country: communion not conflagration.

Grace is always scandalous, I reminded the audience. From the deadly shootings at the Pittsburgh synagogue in America that killed 11 Jews and injured seven others, to the bombings of the two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand where 51 died and 50 were injured, this coming together of faiths in the Wynberg Shul was a powerful statement in troubled times. It was, moreover, a profound act of grace and therefore sure to be regarded as controversial in their respective faith communities...

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