I don’t wear my clergy collar every day, but many clergy in South Africa do. I would have worn an Alb during services in the US and the collar mostly for Activist work or other occasions when I knew it was important for the Church to be seen as present. This past Ash Wednesday, I had my collar on when I was walking home. I walked past an art gallery that was having an event. I was invited inside by a man who shared with me that he was in a conversation with a group inside that had just asked about the ashes on the foreheads of people on the street and would I explain what Lent and Ash Wednesday is all about. I sat with them for almost an hour answering their questions about faith before I made my way out the door and up the street a bit further to my home.
A couple of days later, a waitress in one of the restaurants near the church ask
I have taught three people that prayer in the past three days, each of them in the community right around the church. I am not sure they would have known I was a Pastor had I not been wearing my clergy collar around them one day, but each of them knew who I was for my walking around the City as a practice—every day. There was a woman who reached out to me yesterday who I met when I was walking in the Company Gardens months ago. As I approached her yesterday, I saw that her eye was swollen shut and she looked like she had been beaten badly. This was how she looked the first time we met.
I took her hands and listened as she told me what happened. I didn’t know what to say, I felt at a complete loss. Then she taught me my lesson for the day, when she said to me, “Thank you, it was the first time I could hear what it is I must do. I know I must leave and it is because of you.” I had taught her many months ago how to pray. I shared with her that I can only guide her to a place where she can listen. I can hold her hands and be with her, but it is God that gives us strength, that breathes life into us, and that it is because of God that we can know we are never alone. I said, it is important that we thank God for this strength you found in trusting in this truth and we prayed.
She didn’t need me to tell her where to go or who to talk to, there were women in her community that guided her through all that. She met me in the trees where we had first met, so that I could hold her h
Thankful to be with you on the journey,