"And an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying 'arise and take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt...for Herod seeks to destroy him"
After the TV has been turned off, the 12 year old, wide eyed child maneuvers the dizzying streets of Khayelitsha. Stepping outside her home, with walls of rusted metal, her cornrows straight and tight, she empties the family's latrine bucket before picking up the baby. She begins sectioning the baby's hair with a black, fine tooth comb, twisting and weaving, first left, then right. Music throbs into the street from the bar where too many men gather, playing pool. Her 9 year old sister curiously peeking her head back and forth in front of the open door. Standing up, with baby's braided hair still in hand, the infant tucked sideways under her arm, she yells to the 9 year old girl to get back from the door.
Traveling from Zimbabwe, the girl's mother, knowing their homeland would bring death, brought the children to South Africa with the hope of giving life. Perhaps a messenger of the Lord, a soul who went before them, told of the roads leading first to Johannesburg, th
en to the Cape flats where shelter could be found. They arose, fleeing a darkness that can't be quelled by the sun, bringing along not only what they could carry, but also the unspeakable pains that weigh down the very fiber of one's being.
In search of shelter and nourishment, they find streets filled with bubbling sewage and men who take 9 year old girls to back rooms of bars.
It is here, in Khayelitsha, where she will turn 13, 14, With continued and increasing frequency, she will be shoved into the street from the back rooms of bars, legs shaking, cornrows tangled, stomach pierced with nausea. And her belly will swell with child while her body shrinks from AIDS. The refugee, immersed in the terror of this world, sought refuge in Khayelitsha only to find earthly destruction.
...And Joseph took Mary and the child by night, and fled to Egypt...for Herod is seeking the child to destroy him.
Jesus, the refugee, undocumented, outlawed, immersed in the terror of this world, fled to Egypt. The Son of God, fully human, becomes ONE with those who find only earthly destruction.
And Jesus dwelled in Khayelitsha.
If we, the Living Body of Christ, say we desire to seek out, dwell, live fully with the Son of God, then we must dwell among those who find only earthly destruction. We must speak the WORD, bind up the broken, and transform this earth so that it is more as it is in heaven.