Beware of excommunicating each other on Earth

The Right Rev. Musonda Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, spoke to the convention of the Diocese of North Carolina Saturday, and he wondered out loud “When I hear all these harsh tones being exchanged…I ask if anybody is praying.”

Mwamba says that the sexuality debates roiling Anglicanism around the world are simply not a central concern to most Africans.

“The majority of African Anglicans,” he said, “they have their minds focused on life and death issues, like AIDS, poverty … and not what the church thinks about sex or the color of your pajama pants. Villagers who live on less than $1 a day aren’t aware this is going on. The majority of Africans who can afford TVs and radios, they don’t want to see the communion incinerate.”

Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina, who invited Mwamba to come to North Carolina as the diocese formalized a companion diocese relationship with Botswana, said:

“I know that will be new news to Americans…. What the bishop said is in fact accurate. These are not front-burner issues (in Africa). It’s ‘How do I get my children a good education?’ It’s ‘Where do I find clean water and food to eat?’ They go to church to praise the Lord and to find the strength to live another week.”

“This companion link is so sacred”, said Bishop Mwamba. “we need to experience God afresh and have our hearts transformed. In encounters such as this one, we’ll discover that those who we fear are just like us and even though we differ, we can respect one another and even be friends. God’s will is working right now as we are discovering this oneness between the dioceses of North Carolina and Botswana.”

According to Nancy McLaughlin, writing for the News-Record of Greensboro, NC, Mwamba said the core message among Christians should be enlarging the Kingdom of God and not looking for ways to make it smaller.

“So why do we keep thinking separately — us and them?” Mwamba asked. “Could it be because we have lost sight of the height and depth of the kingdom … the infinity of God in us?”

Anglicans, he said, have a history that is rooted in moving beyond each other’s differences.

“We may discover,” he said, “that the person we fear or resent is ‘just like me,’ is ‘just like us.'”

But Mwamba reminds us that man does not have the final say-so.

“Let us beware of excommunicating each other on Earth … we shall find in heaven we are still bound together at the table of God,” he said.

Read: Bishop asks for perspective in debate on gays.

Read about the Diocese of North Carolina, their convention and their companion relationship with the Diocese of Botswana here.

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