By Dr. Rowanne Marie

Amidst a global pandemic, as a Community we sense the presence and peace of a Sovereign God who remains faithful and ‘shows up’ even in the toughest of times. As we approach Pentecost, we are reminded of that great event when the Holy Spirit descended in the most dramatic manner upon all those who were gathered in the Upper Room as recorded in Acts 2. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place (Acts 2:1) “All together” is from the Greek root word homou translated “one accord”. Literally it may mean ‘together in a group’ but spiritually it refers to many individuals working together harmoniously. This verse tells us that they were all in ‘one accord in one place’. It is quite possible for us to be in one place, but not necessarily in one accord. It is also possible for us to be in ‘one place’, but not necessarily together. I would like to imagine that being ‘together in one place’ is a place that sees beyond race, gender, age, or ethnicity, it is a place that sees beyond our limitations and weaknesses, beyond position and power, it sees beyond social status and economic standards. Being together in one place is where the Christian Church positions itself in a broken and diseased world. It is a world where ‘new normals’ are being identified, defined and established. It is a world that needs hope, healing, restoration and renewal – a new nature that is found in Christ. We have a written hope demonstrated by a lived faith, a guarantee for eternal life, and a blessed assurance. In these unprecedented times, we find ourselves ‘together in one place’, where we all combat the common and invisible enemy. As the SMMS community, we have shown strength, togetherness and harmony when it matters the most. We share moments of jubilation, joy and hope as we recently celebrated the achievements of our graduates.

We have also seen some difficult times – we experienced illness, economic hardships, and even death! But we remain steadfast and immovable because we are accompanied by the Holy Spirit, our helper, comforter and counsellor who empowers us for the work we are called to do. It’s the same Holy Spirit that empowers us to be witnesses in OUR Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Being together in one place is not about having an experience of “feel good” and spiritual intoxication. Being together in one place, in one mind, in one accord, is a corporate understanding of the role of the Church in this world / the mission of God in this world. Whilst we celebrate our diversity as a Community of faith, we hold onto that fundamental truth of our common purpose. Let us not lose focus of our calling and purpose – the world needs brave and courageous people who will arise for such a time as this! In this current season, it is necessary to practice ‘social distancing’, yet we remain in one accord, and in harmony with the purpose of God.