Reflections on Zambia
Lusaka – a place, I believe, that is truly filled with God’s presence. A city that offers both beauty amongst the landscape as well as beauty within its people. Amongst the many things that our visit had to offer, there were two significant aspects that scored a mark on my heart and mind, and they are the good nature of the people with whom we engaged and the enduring invitation for spiritual progression.
I could possibly count on one hand the people I have met in my life who are as warm and welcoming as the people of Lusaka. I speak not of only the people as a collective but about the individuals too. Whether it was the parishioners of St Peter’s, members of the various guilds and ministries or even outside the church context when we encountered everyday people, they all radiated and displayed a warmth and courtesy towards us. Throughout our visit, we engaged with various guilds and ministries to share ideas and context with each other, and I’ll be honest in some of these meetings my attention would simply divert. This kind of mental diversion wasn’t the kind that you subconsciously do when you are extremely bored but the conscious kind that stems out of admiration.
Regardless of who was speaking or preaching to the audience, the part I found that mattered most and that was most exhilarating was the energy and liveliness of the Holy Spirit amongst us that allowed the words spoken to settle on souls. The beauty of this experience was that it did not end once the meetings were over, even moments and days after, I still felt the active presence of God within the people with whom we interacted. This assisted me in realising that Lusaka is truly a place filled with God’s people, regardless of your denomination, and began steering me into a place of being more spiritually available.
An observation I made when attending our various meetings was that, undeniably, the people of Lusaka are rooted in praising God through worship. Praise and worship were a common theme amongst most guilds and ministries, and I will say that their praise and worship was done so astoundingly and seamlessly. Particularly how the praise and worship is well timed with the preaching and prayers at St Peter’s, allowed me to be more spiritually available in listening to God’s word alongside the music and allowing the Holy Spirit to move within me.
Before I visited Lusaka, I had never been to a parish like St Peter’s in terms of the charisma amongst the parishioners. Everyone seemed very available to actively receive God into their lives regardless of whether they lived well-off or not so well-off lives – all were willing to continue to grow spiritually. This observation set off a switch in me to strive to actively ground myself in the Lord. Whether in times off utmost thankfulness and gratitude or in times of grievance and agonising upset, I was on mission to ground myself in the Lord and since that moment of realisation, I can say that I continue to receive the Lord’s readily presence in my life.
Visiting Lusaka was truly a rewarding and restorative experience, even during a time when I did not think that I needed spiritual restoration. Meeting and interacting with such devoted and lively people as well as drawing inspiration from their spiritual availability and passion within the church, exceeded any expectations that I had before visiting. A saying I learnt at our meeting with the St. Veronica’s Guild goes as follows, “God is good, all the time and all the time God is getting better and better,” and it is true to the people of Lusaka and to all of us. God is unquestionably getting better and better.