From Pastor to Pupils
Presenting the National Anthem in a School environment
If South Africa is to experience a renewal, a revival, a renaissance, it will come when the ethics, the moral fibre, the direction of our people is aligned to the Word of God.
To that end Pastors ought to apply themselves diligently to reaching out to their communities with the Gospel. One door which is open to the church is that of schools. The opportunity to address a local high school or primary school’s assembly on a regular basis is a blessing to the local church on a number of levels.
However, how does one start? I have found that a principal faced with a compelling value proposition is most inclined to be accommodating to a local church. Our church has the opportunity to address the local high school and primary school on a weekly basis because we went to the school principal and clearly stated what content we would present, how long we needed to present that content and how the school would benefit from allowing a pastor to conduct devotionals in the school’s morning assembly.
In the following set of articles I briefly describe the devotionals that we’re currently presenting to the schools in our area. We work line by line through the national anthem of South Africa. The Gospel goes out each week, which is what the church wants, and the school benefits because currently nation building and the national anthem are in the spot light.
This is a work in progress and I’ll be most grateful if you gave me feedback.
Lord bless Africa – Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
It is wise to familiarise oneself with some of the basics of the national anthem. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika was composed in the year 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Methodist school teacher. It was originally sung as a church hymn but later became an act of political defiance against the apartheid government. Die Stem van Suid-Afrika is a poem written by C.J. Langenhoven in 1918. Our anthem is unique in all the world in that it includes 5 languages and is the only anthem to begin in one key and end in another.
The first line, ‘Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika’, translates to ‘Lord bless Africa’, the key word to transfer in the first lesson is the word bless, what does it mean? why did the author use it?
A good text to read in this lesson is Numbers 6:24 – 26,
24 “‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
The text above is unlocked by seeing how it advances our understanding of how God’s blessing extends those whom He loves. Firstly there is a prayer, a desire if you will, ‘The Lord bless you’, this is clarified by the sentence, ‘the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you’, and then further enhanced by the phrase, ‘the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.’
God’s blessing is experienced by God’s people when He turns His affections towards them, when He presences Himself amongst them.
Consider the companion blessing in the New Testament, 2 Cor 13:14,
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
Communion with God, experience His very real presence, His love, His grace, His blessing.
The Gospel message is very appropriately expounded at this point. God is Holy, He is separate from sin. Man is sinful, he is separated from God. In a very real way we are not under blessing but under curse. Jesus died for our sins as a substitute. By believing in Him, trusting Him completely, turning from our sin and turning to Him, receiving the free gift of salvation, we are reconciled to God, we enter into His presence, we enter into His blessing.