I’ve got a challenge for you during this Christmas season! Patty and I were invited to be apart of the Christmas celebration at the Ocean View Care Center. Pastor Raymond, a volunteer at the Center, taught us the Jerusalema dance. This song and dance was birthed in South Africa, swept through Africa and all over the world even making its way to the US.
To be honest I’m a little behind the times on social media so I had to go home and look up this catchy song and dance challenge that went viral during the pandemic. The song is in Zulu and has its roots in a much older gospel hymn, “Jerusalem Ikhaya Lami (Jerusalem My Home.)” The hymn celebrates a longing for a New Jerusalem, a hope for a better place where suffering will end. Jerusalema echoes those same desires. Here is the English translation:
Jerusalem, my home Rescue me, Join me, Don’t leave me here!
My place is not here, My kingdom is not here, Rescue me! Come with me!
Save me, save me, save me, Don’t leave me here….!
As I read these words and listened again to the song I thought about the joy we saw at the Care Center in both the children and the teachers. The whole Gospel was shared in both words and songs and it was a taste of heaven on earth for us. We both really needed it and came home so blessed by the day.
But at the same time pain was very present. Two teachers had recently lost family members one had been killed in a drive by shooting and another stabbed due to gang violence. Many children peered through the fence asking for food to feed their hungry stomachs. It made us both so sad to witness such real life situations for this community.
Yet here was singing, dancing and powerful prayers of hope right in the middle of a community filled with a hot bed of violence, corruption, and overwhelming needs. Quite a polarizing picture, the celebrations of the Christmas season and most of 2020. The gift of hope in Jesus and a brutal battle ground of reality. The gift of God’s only Son in the midst of so much pain is a potent reminder that this world is not our home. There is a New Jerusalem coming for all who have walked through the cross of Jesus Christ. His blood and forgiveness has opened doors both now and forever into an eternal Jerusalem. All who have experienced God’s saving grace are already in spirit apart of a heavenly Zion, a New Jerusalem where we can live out of His forever love.
Our faith response to the gift of our Heavenly Jerusalem needs to be singing and dancing for what has been given to us in Jesus both now and forever. As Pastor Raymond led us in the Jerusalema last Friday, we need to dance & sing in the midst of our battles & brokenness.
Patty and I actually pulled up a tutorial for the Jerusalema dance. We still have some practicing, but it created many laughs and served as a reminder that our hope and our calling to bring His Hope to all He leads us into contact with. We challenge you this Christmas season to sing, dance, and pray the Jerusalema wherever God has placed you and even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2)
P.S. If you want to see the dance performed by the local Fish Hoek High School click on the link below…..and if you and your family master this dance! Love to see a video!!!