1 Samuel 1:4-20, 2:1-10
Eli’s proclamation of peace (1 Samuel 1:17) revivified Hannah, the household of Elkanah and the society. It was a priestly task that is explained in Malachi 2:7, “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth.” That proclamation changed the narrative of inequalities and denigration of human dignity and promoted the sacrosanctity of life. Eli realised that with unhappy Hannah, the family and the society were unhappy.
The story of Hannah connotes that in societies, each person is and ought to be part of the whole society. In Africa, this is known as Ubuntu, with its maxim, umntu ngumntu ngabantu (a person is a person because of other persons). Ubuntu is about interdependence and interconnectedness, contributing to the conviviality of life. The pain of one person becomes a pain of the whole society. The discrimination, oppression, and dehumanisation of one person implies the same for the societies. The abuse, the rape, and the killing of one woman unsettles all of humanity. The socioeconomic deprivations that are inflicted on the marginalised and impoverished are an affront to all of God’s people.
In her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:4-10, Hannah testified that God brings about life and death, the grave and resurrection, poverty and wealth, and humiliation and exaltation. She declared (verse 8) that God “raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” A similar claim is expressed in Mary’s song that the Lord brings down the rulers and lifts the humble, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty (Luke 1:52-53), thus promoting life-flourishing societies
It is the church’s priestly role to speak life and pronounce peace, like Eli, to the situations of hopelessness, inequality, oppression, and abuse, and reinvigorate the downtrodden. The peace that Eli pronounced goes with justice and righteousness, underscoring our prophetic role. It is the liberating gospel that promulgates a just socioeconomic order, which Jesus Christ alluded to in Mark 13. The church must liberate and be liberating.
-Lungile Mpetsheni, CWM Board of Directors
In the name of Jesus Christ, the liberator, we pray for just socio-economic world order;
Peace, justice, and righteousness in every society; End to corruption and greed;
Eradication of poverty and end to all inequalities; Respect for human dignity;
God’s reign to come and God’s will to be done.
Please pray for servant leadership in the church
The gospel calls humanity to submit to the divine ordinance. Failure to submit to God is rebellion. God calls us to servanthood, and leaders are servants of God and God’s people. God in Christ is the pivot and fulcrum of servant leadership.
We pray for political leadership that promotes and protects gender, climate, economic, social and technological justice by upholding human rights and human security.
Peace and reconciliation of God’s creation
The legacy of slavery and effects of wars and violence have left the world groaning and broken. We pray for leaders who will bring healing and reconciliation to God’s creation.
Sikhalo Cele, UCCSA Zimbabwe Synod