Reading Psalm 24 in the context of the search for justice in the economy
I remember Mr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, the late Vice President of Zimbabwe, soon after his return from the Lancaster House talks where Zimbabwe’s independence was negotiated, asking a gathering of the clergy to find a scripture that talked about the land issue. After an embarrassingly longish search, somebody stood up to read the following text: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it; The world and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas and established it on the rivers”. After the reading there was silence as Mr Nkomo, proceeded to give his understanding of the text. The clergy were nodding in agreement with his interpretation and what he saw as the way forward to a future guaranteed with justice, peace and prosperity for all. Mr Nkomo simply said three things: (1) That the earth and all its riches belongs to God; (2) The resources of land and minerals should be shared by all people; (3) There must therefore be an equitable redistribution of land. Today we stand at yet another (forgive the over used word) “Kairos” for Africa and the world. It is a Kairos because we have not heeded the call for a re-definition of the ownership and stewardship of the resources of the land. Our economies operate on a model that does not recognize God’s ownership of the land and its resources. Neither do they see the need for justice-based system of sharing the wealth and rewarding the workers, especially the lower ranked ones. Most of the so-called ‘lower-rank’ workers, in the case of the mining sector, have to go deep down into the hot belly of the earth to dig out minerals for the benefit others. They face danger but they are not rewarded enough to send their children to school. This is a call for a re-think in the issue of the ownership of the land all its resources especially minerals like gold and platinum which should benefit the inhabitants of the land. Is it not a scandal and shame that we still see “mud schools” in a country that has such minerals like diamonds, gold, platinum and many others? This is a country that has built world class stadiums and hosted the Soccer World Cup? The sooner we realize that “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it; The world and those who live in it”, the sooner there will be justice for all in the economy and peace on the land. Amen.