Monday, July 21, 2008

If You Believe...

You know how sometimes we learn new songs at Annual Conferences and other large denominational and regional events? And how sometimes we love them so much we can't keep ourselves from singing them?

Once upon a time, like 2001 Annual Conference in Baltimore perhaps, the Church of the Brethren learned the song "If You Believe and I Believe" from Zimbabwe. The song served as the country's national anthem during it's struggle for independence, declared in 1965 but not formally recognized until 1980.

It is a simple, beautiful song, with a fantastic message:

If you believe and I believe and we together pray
The Holy Spirit must come down and set God's people free,
And set God's people free,
And set God's people free;
The Holy Spirit must come down and set God's people free.

Although the song made it into the 2008 conference booklet, I don't know if we sang it. Strange though this seems to some of my friends, I didn't sit in on every business session.

As many of you may know from recent news reports, Zimbabwe had been an Africa success story (it still has the highest literacy rate on the continent) and Harare, the capitol, was site of the WCC's 8th General Assembly in 1998. Now the country is in the midst of a drought, weighted down by inflation, subject to an embargo, projecting the world's lowest life expectancy, and living through a time where its elections look more like a selection.

If we did indeed sing "If You Believe and I Believe" at Annual Conference, I hope we sang it as a prayer for Zimbabwe. If we didn't, I hope you and your congregation will do so in the future and keep the country's people in your prayers for the foreseeable future.

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