South Africa: For Self and Others

Today, I let myself rest up a bit in the morning before heading out to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. I signed up for the shuttle tour which I highly recommend because the grounds are huge! I took a lot of photos…Guinnea fowl are beautiful birds that embody so much of African design. It’s an easy way to see how this environment influenced their aesthetic. It was good to take some time for myself to recharge.

After spending a little time back in he hostel, I headed out to Century City, a wealthy neighborhood, to the Hillsong Church for their Thursday night worship team meeting. I have more thoughts about it than I have time for right now. In short, what they do is impressive in scale and organization. There are lessons to be learned there, but there are also some cautions. Church, at its core, isn’t about feeling good. It’s about being a disciple, and being a disciple is often uncomfortable.

After my time at Hillsong, I headed off to a bar (quite the contrast) for a saxophone quartet that was collaborating with some local singers. It was some great music, although the first singer was a little weak. The last singer was amazing. But the highlight had to be the artist doing hip-hop in Afrikaans with the saxophone quartet. It was a magnificent mash-up, and even though I couldn’t understand a word, the power of his delivery and the quality in the rhythm, tone, and flow of his rhymes carried so much power and emotion. For me, his music was more powerful than the praise songs at Hillsong because they clearly carried a message for the community drawn from the weight of his own experiences.

At the end of the day, I’m reminded of the closing lines from the song “Capo 4th Fret” by Tony Sly: I will live for the sake of others so they can do the same. I took some time to recharge. I will take some more. Yes, I need to be good to myself. But the usefulness of doing so is in the greater impact I can make in this world with my own life.

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