a Reflection on Primates and Meetings

Sep 11, 2017 by

from AAC:

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

Retired Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu was once asked what holds the Anglican Communion together. He replied, “We meet”.

Archbishop Tutu is a global hero from his time as Archbishop of Cape Town during the apartheid era of South Africa and his steadfast witness to justice and truth. When Archbishop Tutu speaks, people listen. So, when he says that what holds the Anglican Communion together is that “we meet,” people listen. Likewise, people also believe that he must be speaking from a uniquely African perspective. Therefore, if African Christian leaders do not meet, the common conclusion is that they must be betraying not only their Christian commitment, but also their very African-ness.

In my mother tongue of Rukiga, we have a proverb that says, “Abarya kamwe,” meaning “one eats with those one agrees with or are in agreement with.” The Baganda say, “Oluganda Kurya,” meaning literally “Brethren eat.” Their saying has been shortened from the fuller proverb that says, “Because we are brothers, we can eat together.” The converse is also implied – “I cannot eat with my enemy or he who has betrayed me.”

The prophet Amos expressed it this way, saying, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3.3) Jesus follows in the tradition of Amos and conveyed the same idea through the imagery of the oxen yoke: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Two yoked oxen can only walk together if they are walking in the same direction. When they are yoked with Jesus and walking in the same direction as Jesus, then the yoke is easy; it is not a burden. When they are not yoked with Jesus and not walking in the same direction as Jesus, then the yoke chafes; it tears the skin; it wounds and causes bleeding.

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