Africa Praying

A Handbook on
HIV/AIDS Sensitive Sermon Guidelines and Liturgy

Musa W. Dube

Contributing Writers:

*Isabel Apawo Phiri *Ezra Chitando *Tinyiko S. Maluleke
*Felicidade Chirenda* Canon Gideon Byamugisha
Gladies Jeco*Prince Moiseraela Dibeela* Fulata L. Moyo*Musa W. Dube
*Augustine C. Musopole* Cheryl Dibeela

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors…

By Musa W. Dube
By Augustine C. Musopule

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 11: 23-24


This is a service of communion and thanksgiving and we ask you to bless it. Due to the immense challenges we face in our lives, many of us are often tempted to think that there is little to be thankful for. We pray that this service will once again enable us to see the many blessings for which we can be thankful. We pray that through this service we will view our circumstances from a different light. The fact that some among us may be HIV positive is reason to be especially thankful for the gifts of life, fellowship and communion. Lord, we ask that as you issue an open invitation for us to sit at table with you, the church may work to undermine and combat all stigma against HIV positive people and other stigmatized groups in society. We pray that this service may inspire us to combat all practices - said and done -, which undermine community. In this service, we pray that we will be moved from chaos to community and fellowship with you, oh Lord and with one another as human beings created in your image.

Song: (
Popular Chorus)

Bind us together Lord
Bind us together Lord
Bind us with cords
that cannot be broken

Bind us together Lord
Bind us together Lord
Bind us together with love

There is only one Lord
There is only one King


In may cultures, - African cultures included - the sharing of a meal, is the highest form of fellowship and communion. The sharing of a meal is the most basic and most central family ritual, around which all other activities in which members of the family engage. The invitation of a guest to share in the family meal is accordingly an important gesture of friendship and communion. It is significant that Jesus chose a meal as the best context for us to the remember him. As the time of his betrayal and crucifixion drew near, Jesus chose, for farewell and remembrance purposes, the sharing of a meal. There is no better symbol of communion, friendship and fellowship than a meal. It is instructive that Jesus did not leave to chance the question of how he was to be remembered, but sought to give his disciples very concrete clues, guidelines and a very definite context. It is also instructive that Jesus chose a communal rather than an individual meal situation for the context of his remembrance. But we live in a world where meals - even family meal times - can no longer be taken for granted. In a world where some have more to have and to eat than they can consume, there are millions who go for days without a descent meal. There are families for whom a descent family meal is a luxury that happens all too rarely. Effectively therefore, in the global meal table, there are millions who are excluded. What excludes them? Poverty. Patriarchy. Racism. Sexism. HIV/AIDS. The stigmatization of HIV-positive people. As long as the global meal table excludes some, the world is unable to witness to and remember Jesus Christ. We must be careful therefore that the Holy Communion does not become just another of the many exclusive and immoral meals in which a few get nourished when many are going hungry. Not only does Holy Communion remind us of a basic human act, but it also inspires us to work for a world in which there is genuine communion among all human beings and between humans and God.
1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read 1 Corinthians 11:23-34


This passage is a recollection - it is Paul’s recollection of the instructions of the Lord with regard to Holy Communion. For Paul it is important that this practice be kept just as the Lord had commanded. Here, it is clearly the theological significance of the meal that is highlighted. The central theological message here is that of linking the bread and the wine to the event of salvation. Human made bread and wine become (metaphors for) the broken body of the Christ and his shed blood. We must not pass too quickly over the fact and reality of the broken body and the spilt blood. These two theological truths find much resonance in the experience of many in Africa today. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS are breaking the body of Christ anew. Similarly, blood continues to be spilt in a world where the sanctity of life is no longer respected. The world is broken. So the theological significance and the subsequent theological controversies about Holy Communion should not blind us to its socio-economic and ethical significance of Holy Communion. Paul was very much awake to the latter. After reminding his readers of the words of the Lord, he proceeds to caution against unworthy eating of Holy Communion. Hence suggests introspection before Holy Communion and advises against gluttony or greed at the communion table. In our context of poverty and HIV/AIDS we may have to revisit these words of caution and conceptualize them and think anew of the things that make for communion and those that
1. We Apply the Word of God


· We learn that Jesus instructed that a simple communion meal is the context of his remembrance and that he is best served and remembered in community.
· For communion to deserve the name all - including stigmatized and discriminated people - must be welcome unconditionally as God accepts us.
· Just as there are important theological issues in the practice and traditions surrounding Holy Communion, there are also ethical and socio-political issues.


· We confess all the practices, policies and words that kill and stunt community.
· We confess the danger that Holy Communion can become one more meal of exclusion in world where so many are excluded.
· We confess the exclusion of many - including HIV positive people - from the table of communion.
· We confess our silence in the face of massive stigmatization of HIV positive people effectively cutting them off and denying them community and fellowship.


· We are thankful that, sinful as we are, we are nevertheless made worthy to sit at table with the Lord.
· We are thankful that in a world full of divisions, discrimination and exclusion, we are all welcome to sit alongside one another and alongside Jesus Christ.
· We are thankful that Christ left us this poignant ritual of community, fellowship and thanksgiving.


· We pray for an end to all that divides, discriminate and exclude.
· In a society where community is being torn apart by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we pray for healing and for resilient community.
· We pray for a global table where no one is discriminated or excluded.
· We pray for a world where all have something to eat.

2. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· We should feel ashamed at the extent of cruel and irrational stigma attached to HIV positive people.
· We should feel compassionate towards all discriminated people.
· We should feel anger at the abuse of Holy Communion so it either becomes one more meal of exclusion rather than a context of community, witness and remembrance.
· We should feel inspired in the realization that Jesus wants us to live in community and to live in community with him.


· We can be builders of community.
· We can be activists against discrimination and exclusion.


· We can take action against stigmatization of HIV/AIDS sufferers.
· We can work towards making the communion table accessible to all within our own congregation.
· We can work for a global communion table that welcomes all and is able to supply nourishment to all.

3. Conclusion: Word to Society

Holy Communion is a significant Christian ritual. In remembering the broken body of Christ we recognize the broken world in which we live. We recognize the broken body of Christ - a body that is HIV-positive. So we aught to pause and think of the things that break our world up and the things that break the church up. We should think particularly of things that destroy and pervert genuine human community. In this ritual built around a most basic and community-inspiring human act, namely, the sharing of a meal we are forced confess that in our world, even the sharing of a meal is fast becoming an exclusive preserve of a few as many go hungry. We are therefore challenged to name the policies and practices that break the world up and spill blood. We are challenged to work for a world in which there is real community. In such a world stigma and discrimination will be eliminated. This is what it means to remember and to witness to Christ.

Prayer of Commitment

Lord we thank you for allowing us to sit at table with you. Give us strength to continue working for a world that is not broken - a world where blood is wantonly spilt. Help us to have courage to work for a world in which all have something to eat. Give us the vision and courage to build churches, which are home to strangers, the poor and the sick. We particularly ask you to make the church a home and refuge for HIV positive people. Above all we pray that you will enlist all of us in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, poverty and discrimination.


[An appropriate song of community or Holy Communion may be sung].

Symbols/Objects/ideas and Commitments: (
Here, the usual Holy Communion symbols will suffice). ii. DIAS FESTIVOS DA IGREJA


Texto sugerido para o sermão: Lc 22:14-23


Obrigado Senhor por nos ter convidadona Tua Ceia. Sabemos que não somos dignos dela. Sabemos também que tu perdoas ao pecador que se arrepende. Por isso estamos aqui, para que nos fortaleças e purifiques. Cultive em nós o teu amor, para te servirmos com justiça, todos os dias da nossa vida.


A Santa Ceia constituída por Jesus, é tomada pelos baptizados e confirmados. Nela, estão presentes o pão que simboliza o corpo de Cristo, e o vinho que simboliza o seu sangue. A igreja ,corpo de Cristo, reúne-se à volta da mesa para tomar a Ceia até que Ele venha (ICo11.26). A doutrina de algumas igrejas proíbe a participação na Ceia a todos aqueles que tem problemas disciplinares. Os pecados cometidos por algumas pessoas não tem perdão pelo que, essas pessoas são interditas de tomá-la até à sua morte. Quando e como é que a igreja recebeu o poder para fazer isso? A ideia de que quem estiver contaminado (a) pelo HIV/SIDA é pecador (a), pressupõe que essas pessoas não podem também participar da S.Ceia. Será que pastores (as) padecendo desta doença não poderão mais tomá-la? Como entender esse comportamento quando a igreja fala de amor, perdão, justiça? O HIV/SIDA põe em causa a nossa pregação e convida-nos a uma reflexão profunda sobre as nossas atitudes porque, pelo baptismo, somos todos(as) um em Cristo (Gl 3.27).


Leia o texto. Sublinhe com um lápis as palavras mais importantes.


VV. 14-22

Ø Jesus toma a sua última Ceia com os seus discípulos. Nela anuncia a sua morte e a traição que será feita por um deles.Pede-lhes para ficarem a tomar a Ceia depois da sua partida, em sua memória.

V 23

Ø Os discípulos preocupados, tentam descobrir quem será o traidor.


· Que nos púlpitos pregamos mentiras em vez do Evangelho da Boa Nova
· Que muita gente afasta-se da igreja por culpa nossa
· Que discriminamos aqueles a quem Deus mais quer no seu Reino.


Escolher uma que esteja de acordo com o tema


Senhor omnipotente, agradecemos-te pelo imenso amor que tens por nós. Quiseste que participássemos da tua glória. Convidaste-nos e continuas a convidar-nos no teu banquete, porque queres dividir tudo connosco. Quem somos nós para merecer tamanha consideração? Senhor, o teu amor e justiça, tornam-nos indignos de sermos chamados teus filhos. Tu não nos sentencias à morte, mas nós somos implacáveis para condenar os (as) outros (as). O que é pior, é que colocamos barreiras intransponíveis para aqueles (as) que querem aproximar-se de ti. Perdoa-nos Senhor. Transforme os nossos empedernidos corações, e faça deles vasos de bênção, que levam Boas Novas aos que delas necessitam, em nome do Teu Filho Jesus Cristo. Amen.

Desenho ou fotografia de alguém a oferecer pão a outrém.

4. Services on Good Friday & Easter
Sermon Text: Mark 15: 16-41


Many people in Sub-Saharan Africa many live with untold sufferings. At the moment there is famine of a magnitude that has not been experienced in a long while in Southern Africa. Children and adults are dying of starvation. Others have had to resort to practices like immigration and sex work in order to make ends meet. Parents have to watch helplessly as their children die from malnutrition and related diseases. Many of these are Christians, and they have been told that if they are faithful and pray hard enough things will be okay. But things have no t been despite their fidelity to the Christian faith. Consequently, they ask, “
where is God when it hurts most?”

1. We Listen to the Word of God


Mark’s narrative of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and death is made up of numerous individual scenes, each of which is appropriate for a Good Friday Sermon. It might be advisable for the preacher to isolate and focus on one particular aspect of the narrative.

The narrative is full of irony. The soldiers tease and mock Jesus with the words ‘long live king of the Jews!’ They even create a crown of thorns for him. Little did they know that in fact and indeed this was the king of kings and the Lord of the Lords! The divine plan was taking effect in the foolish act of human beings poking and mocking God. Here, God, in the person of Jesus, took on the form of a servant and was beaten so that we may be saved. God took upon God- self-human suffering.

2. We apply the word to ourselves

Christians worship a crucified God who is not removed from their experiences. God experiences the shame and the pain of HIV +.


Christ’s body, which was spat on, whipped and broken for us, takes shape in the emaciated bodies of Africa children who die from AIDS everyday. God they’re when it hurts most, not in heaven but in our suffering.
We need to ask ourselves about the image of God that we portray in our theologies and in our pulpits. Is it a God who is far removed from people’s experiences, a grand father up in the sky kind of image, or is it a God whose body we see broken in the bodies of sex workers, who are abused every night, in children who are orphaned daily and women who infected through rape?

We confess that:

· We have not always been empathetic to the poor and down trodden
· We have portrayed an image of God that is triumphal ever through the Bible testifies to God who’s body was broken for us
· We have stigmatized those who are HIV+, failing to see God in thief faces.

We thank God for:

· Jesus Christ and what he did for us on the cross
· Theologians who challenge us to re-visit our images of God so that can be true to the New Testament
· The opportunity to celebrate Good Friday.


Crucified God we come to you with bruised memories and sorrows.

Listen to our prayers for we pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

God who was ridiculed, spat on, and, whose body staves and has no access to food

We bring your children to our communities, who are orphaned. They live without their mothers and fathers, but we know you look after them.

We bring before you the pain of those who starve and have no access to food.

We trust in you to provide us with our daily bread as you did to our parents and their parents before them. Bring us rain and turn our dusty fields into bountiful blessings of food.

Christ our liberator rescues us from the forces of death, which surrounds us; such as rape, domestic violence, sex industry and AIDS.

Oh Lord restore us to yourself we pray. Raise among us men and women who will together resist these forces for your name’s sake.

Crucified God be part of our sorrows.
Weep with us and wipe away our tears.
May our brokenness find healing in you.
And may we take delight in your cross.


When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to his blood

See from his head, his hands, and his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such a sorrow meet
Or thorns compose of rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er his body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe is dead to me

Was the whole realm of nature mine?
That was a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, and my all.
@ Isaac Watts

Suggested Object/symbols/ideas:
The worshiper could use a big cross and place it in the central place, so that it becomes a focal point. Next to it could be a little candle.
By Moiseraele P. Dibeela

5. Services on Resurrection/Restoration


Sermon Text: Luke 24: 1ff


Whether death (as a tragedy) has come out of preventable, postponable or manageable conditions or whether (as a miracle) it has come out of our natural end (Gen. 23: 1-2, 25: 7-8, 35: 28-29) the resurrection truth reminds us that our God transforms our death into eternal life if we believe in God’s son, Jesus (John 11:25-26) and if we are faithful to him in love and repentance. In the context of HIV/AIDS, the resurrection story has three-fold significance:

· We should never tire from preventing and postponing all preventable and postponeable suffering and death. But once we reach the end of the road; we should embrace inevitable sufferings and death with a sense of hope and victory (1 Cor. 15:3-58; 1 Thes. 4: 4-13);

· What may look impossible with our human eyes, minds and hearts is possible with God (Luke 24: 2,5,6);

· We should never allow preventable, postponable and manageable, deaths to happen simply because we want ourselves or our loved ones to have eternal life quickly. It is quite inappropriate to use the resurrection story as a death recipe or prescription – as if it is always good to allow, invent or increase trouble to maximize good!

1. We listen to the Word of God

Read or choose someone to read the Luke 24:1ff
Read the three other reports about Christ’s resurrection on Sunday morning (Mark 16: 1-8, Matthew 28: 1-10, John 20: 1-9)
Explain that the reports supplement each other.


Verse 1

Ø “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came into the sculpture, bringing spices, which they had prepared….”
Have you ever been scolded or reprimanded for doing something which humanly speaking looks like a waste of effort, energy, time and resources? For example, they say, -“Don’t bother, he will soon be dead anyway.”
-“Don’t waste your money and your time, that patient, child, family, community, nation, or continent is beyond resuscitation/recovery/rehabilitation!”

Verse 55:

Ø It tells us that the women followed the men that were carrying the body of Jesus; that they saw the men put Jesus in a tomb and roll a very big stone on the entrance. They probably also saw the soldiers being deployed on the site to ensure nobody tampered with the burial of Jesus. Nevertheless they went ahead to (according to v. 56) prepare spices and ointments and after the Sabbath, took them early Sunday morning to the tomb, supposedly to anoint the body. What a faith!

Verse 2:

Ø “And they found the stone rolled away………”! (Miracle 1)

Verse 3:

Ø “And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. (Miracle 2)

Verse 5:

Ø “Why are you seeking the living among the dead? (Note that important question)

Verse 6:

Ø “He is not here but he is risen.” (attestation of a miracle)

2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· The faith of the women in believing that God would do something about that stone is amazing!
· Jesus’ resurrection story gives us hope to face and confront rather hopeless situation.
· We have hope to live beyond the grave because of Jesus own resurrection.


· We are often paralyzed by seemingly hopeless situations and are easily discouraged/destructed from action in faith. We confess faithlessness and hopelessness in face of trails and problems.


· For the resurrection of Jesus, the writing of the story and the faith and courage displayed by the women. All are an inspiration to our own faith, hope and struggles.
· That we can also resurrect from our fear and hopelessness.


· That the resurrection story may be preached powerfully and joyfully in the whole world
· That those doing something about HIV/AIDS in our families, local communities place of worship residence, work etc. and at natural, regional and global level be encouraged by it for, “What may seem impossible in the eyes, minds and hearts of people, is possible with God.”

3. We apply the word of God to the congregation society and the world


· As people face HIV/AIDS in their own lives, families and communities, do their plans, lives, struggles and hopes reflect the hope, faith and assurance generated by the resurrection story?

· God implores us not to “kill” whether that kill is by bullet, a spear or by behaviors and actions that lead to the contradiction and spread HIV/AIDS. Yet the same God does not become powerless over our ungodly acts of murder or suicide. God sets right what has fallen. God indicates what has been messed up and resurrects what has been denied life through our individual and collective acts of omission and commission.


· In spite of HIV/AIDS, the living God of the miracle of resurrection still exists. God suffers with us (Heb. 2:9). We are not alone with struggle against HIV/AIDS (Cor. 1: 1-18). God promises to be present with us in our struggle (Phil. 3:10) and promises us victory over temporal suffering now and in eternity (Rom. 8: 18, 21:1-5).

· The resurrection is God’s seal that Jesus really did for us and he really lives and that one-day he will raise the dead and take the believers (whether they died of AIDS or any other condition) to heaven.


He is Lord 2x
He is peace
He is life
He is love

(to be recited by all)
Dear Lord, your resurrection gives us hope, courage and trust knowing that you transformed death into life. When the road of life is hard, when it leads to the grave, let us rest in the assurance that beyond the grave, you will be waiting for us in your glory. Lord helps us to travel life’s road faithfully in the comfort and hope of resurrection.

Suggested Objects
: Candles, Stones, pebbles. ii. RESURRECTION
Sermon Text: Mark 16:1-8


The resurrection is central to Christianity. A comparative analysis of the world’s religious traditions shows that the theme of Christ’s resurrection is crucial to Christianity’s self-understanding. This theme is valuable in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Christ’s victory over death implies that the high death rate due to HIV/AIDS is contrary to God’s promise of abundant life.

In our African setting where HIV/AIDS has almost resulted in a culture of death, the resurrection becomes a useful symbol. It should send out a message of hope to millions of disillusioned communities. As communities stagger under weight of pain and death, the resurrection should awaken flagging spirits. The good news that life triumphs over death should resurrect dead convictions. Thus, the story of the resurrection should reinvigorate communities to act decisively against HIV/AIDS. We must resurrect against the invasion of death in our families, villages, nations and continent.

1. We listen to the Word of God

The women in the story possessed immense faith and love. At this point, you can introduce the local requirements associated with post-burial rituals. The women in the story also recognized the enormity of the task before them and deliberated amongst themselves, formulating viable strategies. You should also highlight the fact that after the discovery of the resurrection, a sense of mission followed. In the context of HIV/AIDS, concrete planning and specific responses are called for.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Some leaders and individuals have actively participated in programmes to fight HIV/AIDS and have resurrected communal hope WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
· Like the women who were not discouraged, we need to play our part in HIV/AIDS prevention and care
· It is possible for us to be afraid of the challenge
· HIV/AIDS should stir us into action.


· Failure to preach a message of life and hope
· Sometimes we are paralyzed by the onerousness of the HIV/AIDS challenge.
· Many people carry the message of hope to their sick and bed-laden patients
· That death does not have the final say.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

· Highlight the fact that resurrection should also be applied to communities ravaged by HIV/AIDS.

· Draw attention to the fact that the women brainstormed on their way to the tomb. Congregations need to plan in order to be effective in fighting HIV/AIDS.

· The symbol of resurrection communicates God’s choice of life over death.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

Resurrection stories indicate the possibility of communities being totally transformed. The paralysis induced by the epidemic should be countered by a theology of hope. This is based on the conviction that in raising Christ from the dead, God was affirming life. Society is therefore called upon to combat all systems that stifle life and promote death. This includes fighting poverty, gender inequalities, corrupt governments, the abuse of children, international injustice and oppressive cultures.


He is Lord (x2)

He has risen from the dead and he is Lord


Akamuka vakangoona machira chete (x2)
Kwakangosara machira chete
@Charles Charamba


All praise and honor be yours,

Lord of wondrous works.

While we were yet sinners,

You sacrificed your only begotten son

Jesus Christ, to atone for our arrogance and disobedience.

By your might, you raised him from the dead.

You delivered him from the jaws of death,

That we may have life, and have it abundantly.

Because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow.

We are comforted and empowered.

May the Holy Spirit minister to us.

May the empty tomb generate confidence in us,

To recognize that life triumphs over death.

Strengthen us to walk in your holy path,

To the glory of your name. Amen.



A rolled back stone

An empty tomb

This is my story

This is my song

In his absence I became

In his new being I rejoice

I too will go and tell

The tale of our salvation

This foolishness avails life

This scandal heals hurts

This mystery explains

God’s salvation history

Broken are the chains of slavery

Chained are the jaws of death

Charged is the hope for life eternal

For he is risen, and he lies not where they placed him!

He has defeated HIV/AIDS

He has ignited communal hope

Life has overcome death.

@Ezra Chitando

Prayer: The Lord’s Prayer (by all)

Suggested objects/symbols/ideas: Torn garments (resurrection); painting of empty tomb, any thriving indigenous plant.
By Ezra Chitando

6. Service on Ascension

Sermon Text: Luke 24:50-53

Instructions: If you are holding a Bible study for a small group such as, Sunday school class, youth, mothers union get your participants to sit in a circle. Get each one person to read the text and then let each person have the opportunity to interpret the meaning of the passage in relation to the various social evils that confront us and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. If it is in the general service, likewise read the passage and open the interpretation to anyone who wishes. The rest of the listeners can participate in the interpretation by interjecting with a relevant song between the different interpreters. If the participants wish, they can dance to these songs. This liturgy is communal and openly participatory, allowing all the members, who wish, the right to interpret the word. It is also a pure celebration in praise of God with multiple songs and dance. Lastly, this scantly organized liturgy attempts to capture worship in many African Christian churches: their liturgy is communal, a joyous celebration in song, dance and drum, and it is oral—it is not written.

Call to worship:
“When the Spirit of truth comes, that Spirit will guide you into all the truth; for the Spirit will not speak independently, but will speak whatever the Spirit hears and will declare to you the things that are to come. The Spirit will glorify me by taking what is mine and declaring it to you” (John 16:11-15).

Fill us with your Spirit of power, the Spirit that enables us to speak
Opening Song:

Munezero munezero

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:50-53

“Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and, with uplifted hands, Jesus blessed them. While blessing them, Jesus withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Jesus, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Interpreter 1
Song 1
Interpreter 2
Song 2
Interpreter 3
Song 3
Interpreter 4
Song 4
Interpreter 5
Song 5
Interpreter 6
Song 6
Interpreter 7
Song 7
Interpreter 8
Song 8
Song 9
Interpreter 10
Song 10

Sharing the Water of Life:

“Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

(Participants are invited to share the water of life)

Closing song:

Sizohamba naye

Closing Prayer:

Loving and caring God, we thank you for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit fills us with joy. It fills us with power, the power that heals our bodies and soul. We thank you for your peace, for it surpasses all understanding. You give us peace in the midst of all that troubles our sight and souls. We thank you for your ascension, your rising above the power of death. We know that no death of body, mind and spirit can keep us down. We live in joy because you rose from death. Help us to dwell in the joy and fire of your Spirit at all times. Help us to ascend through your resurrection power. This we pray, in Jesus name. Amen.
By Musa W. Dube

7. Service on World AIDS Day

Sermon Text: Isaiah 65: 17-23


With millions of people already dead and millions of others either living with or personally affected by HIV/AIDS; the epidemic constitutes one of the most critical problems for our time. Religious institutions in general and churches in particular, have very important roles to play in fighting the spread of the disease from one person to the other; in mobilizing care and treatment for those already infected and in mitigating the effects of the disease on the families, communities and the nations that have been affected.

World AIDS Day is a special event for churches. By celebrating this day through worship, prayers, praise, word and testimony; individual Christians and whole congregations are helped to:

· Consolidate the “caring church” concept within their activities and plans.

· Break down barriers of prejudice, fear, stigma, and complacency which still hinder our open discussion about and practical action against the disease - AIDS.

· Acquire more spiritual and social strength and resources to fight the disease and its determinants/ casual factors.

· The practice of listening to God’s word and the discipline of prayer have always been very important dimensions of our spirituality but they are even more imperative today given the increased burden of diseases, poverty, famine and conflicts in our families, communities and amongst our nations. World AIDS Day gives us both the opportunity and responsibility to ask for and find God’s mercy, grace and help in this critical time of need.

Isaiah 65: 17-23
1. We listen to the word of God

Read or choose someone to read the Isaiah 65: 17-23.

The Israelites were living in hurting conditions. Diseases, suffering and early deaths was the order of the day for both those who were in exile and those who had escaped complicity. God wanted to bring this to a stop and this proclamation at tests.

Verse 17:

Ø “ For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come to mind.” Note the phrase “I create” which is a present continuous. He is not saying, “I will create” but rather “I create,” today and tomorrow, this and next week, this and the next year.

Verse 19:

Ø “And the voice of weeping shall no more be heard ……… nor the voice of crying”
The pain, suffering and deaths caused by HIV/AIDS and other social evils that raved tore the heart of God and moved God to action. God is concerned about the declining life spans. The high infant, maternal and paternal morbidity and mortality rates from preventable, postponeable and manageable conditions are a concern to God.

Verses 20-23:

Ø Describes the new creation marks and the living environment as God wills it to be.

1. We apply the word of God to ourselves


· God is already decided, HIV/AIDS must go! All the prophecies of the Old Testament and all the sayings of Jesus testify to a God who loves life and is grieved by anything that reduces the quality of life. The World AIDS Day, in its self is an occasion to learn what it says about us.

· We need to work with God to eliminate HIV/AIDS.


· In our roles and responsibilities as individuals fathers, mothers, millers, educators, political leaders, spiritual advisors, youth leaders, peers, technical resources persons, service providers, planners, etc, we have not thought of, said, done all that we are supposed to think of, say or do in order to bring about good health as God intended it to be at individual, family, local community, national, regional and global level.


· God wills that we live long, productive and fruitful lives even when reality seems to suggest the contrary

· We still have a chance to make a difference.


· That God’s will for our individual and collective lives come to pass through improved physical, economic, social practical and spiritual ordering of our lives at all levels – individual, family, local community, national, regional, and global.

· That we become instruments to God’s will.

· That God gives us the serenity to accept things and situations we may not be able to change both in our lives and these of our loved ones.

3. We apply God’s word to the congregation, society and the world


Verse 19:

Ø Many are weeping and crying

Verse 20:

Ø Many are dying at very young ages

Verse 21:

Ø Many are building houses and homes but die before inhabiting them

Verse 22:

Ø Many are not reaping the fruits of their labour

Verse 23:

Ø Many are bringing forth children for trouble (orphans, child headed households, rape, defilement, lack of education opportunities, world/ regional religion/tribal conflicts, hunger, moral degeneration, lack of love for neighbour and God etc).


· We need to cooperate with God (we are co – creators) in bringing about this kingdom on earth through individual and societal reflection, repentance and rededication to a just, fair and healthier world order.


· Jesus backed Isaiah’s prophecy by declaring that, “He came that we may have life in its fullness.” This is good news (gospel) although it is not yet good news for the majority of population collapsing under the burden of preventable, postponable and manageable illness and other negative socio- economic/political conditions.

· We need to develop goals, strategies and action plans as individuals and as church groups to help change these negative conditions, prevent new HIV infections, look after the sick, advocate for increased and fairer treatment services and mitigate the impact of the diseases on the families, institutions, local communities and nations.

Since God is always on the side of life (Romans 8), God will surely support all our efforts in this endeavor.

Song: “United Against AIDS

Chorus: United against AIDS,

Chorus: United against AIDS

Chorus: United against AIDS
Chorus: United against AIDS
Chorus: United against AIDS

Sermon Text: 2 Kings 6: 24-30

We gather in the name of our Creator who did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. We join hands to work together towards the healing of our communities from injustice.

God is calling us to a ministry of reconciliation and peace


Muzinthu zonse, zonse, zones//(In all things)

Akakhalapo (2x)//(When God is there)
Chigonjetso chilipompo//(Victory is there)
A Malawian Community Song


History has shown us that war destroys life and hope. It dehumanizes people by making the victims of war to live in fear and desperation. This is because where there has been war, there is also economic, gender, health, and political injustice. War breeds insecurity, displacement of people, anger, selfishness in people, despair, and oppression of the poor and marginalized. In recent times, research has shown that war promotes gender violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS. This primarily because war destroys and can bring every social welfare institution to standstill: families, health, education government system come to a standstill, while money is ploughed into killing. A war rubbishes life and tramples down on the most valuable aspects of being; namely, life. Even those who survive their psyches have been adversely affected. In such a context epidemics can only rocket, and HIV/AIDS surely does.

In the Western media, the African people are presented as constantly fighting among themselves. It is a very bad image for all of us. We need to remind ourselves that there are many more African countries where there is peace. We also have to thank God that African politicians are working hard to solve their own problems. We also have to remind ourselves that there are wars in many different parts of the world. They are a result of sinful nature of humanity. But here is a ghastly truth: in the HIV/AIDS era, more people are killed by this plague than war!! About five thousand people die a day of HIV/AIDS. What does such a huge attack on life do our humanity—our spirits and our minds? What kind of fear and desperation is likely to arise? The passage we are going to read is an example of the destructive nature of war and how it can dehumanize those who live in it.

1. We listen to the Word of God

(The leader of a member of the congregation can read the text of 2 Kings 6: 24 – 30 or a group can mime or dramatize the story)

The story is about what happens when in a city that has been involved in war.


Ø Samaria was surrounded by the army of Aram for a long time.
Ø The people of Samaria lived in fear and were not able to trade with the people outside the city and there was famine in the land.
Ø Due to famine, people started eating things which were considered unclean.
Ø The people became so desperate to the point that useless things like a donkey’s head were selling expensively.
Ø Women were particularly affected by the famine to the point of eating their own children.
Ø It took the desperate action of the two women and the testimony of one to move the king of Israel to begin to do something about it.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· War dehumanizes people. Therefore we should not take life for granted. We should appreciate all the good things that we have because in times of war those things are not easily available.
· Women in particular suffer more from war because the majority of them are poor and cannot afford to buy food in times of famine and war.
· We should always work towards reconciliation to avoid war regardless the cost. We should also protect the environment and preserve food for hard times
· We should pray and help people who are affected by war and famine.
· HIV/AIDS brings fear and desperation in people just as war and famine.
· Leaders do not suffer from war, famine and HIV/AIDS in the same way as the ordinary people.


· Not supporting peace efforts with action to avert war when countries are at loggerhead.
· Not supporting communities and countries affected by war, famine and HIV/AIDS.
· Not paying special attention to the suffering of women and children as a result of war.
· Not conscientising our political leaders to act quickly on behalf of the poor.
· Not allowing situations to push us to desperation and a life of fear.


· That God has promised us that God will never leave us or forsake us. Therefore even in times of war, famine and HIV/AIDS, God is with us.
· That God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Therefore, even during hard times, we have the power to change the way we respond to situations.


· For justice to prevail on earth
· Reconciliation for countries and communities that are in conflict
· For those who are living in situations of fear and desperation due to war, famine and HIV/AIDS that solutions to their problems should be found.
· In particular for women who suffer from gender violence in times of war, famine and HIV/AIDS.
· Our political leaders to be sensitive to the needs of their people.

3. We apply the word of God to the congregation


· Sorry for the people who are living in conditions that dehumanizes them.
· Sad that our silence to condemn war has led to the death of innocent people.
· Happy that God has given us power to lead change in our communities.


· A community that work together to raise funds to support people who are suffering as a result of war, famine and HIV/AIDS.
· A community that is kept up to date with world events so that our prayers and actions are informed.
· A community that support peace action.
· People who bring messages of hope to people who live in fear and desperation.


· Raise funds to support people affected by war, famine and HIV/AIDS.
· Pray for people affected with famine, war and HIV/AIDS.
· Mobilize people to support peace efforts.
· Teach people who are living in fear and desperation the promises of God.

4. Conclusion: Word of God on the society

HIV/AIDS, like war, has struck fear and desperation in the hearts of many. The meaning of life is lost. The acts of trying to hold on to it indicate dire desperation. This is clear in the rape of the girl child and of infants by adult male strangers and relatives in attempt to cleanse themselves of HIV/AIDS. It is attested by some turning to bestiality in fear of getting infected by human beings. It is also attested by reports of some ignorantly turning to homosexuality, thinking it will be safer sex than heterosexuality (not surprising given the great silence concerning homosexuality in African communities). It is attested by the general rise of rape. In short, any people who are under fear and desperation, can easily loose their humanity in attempt to survive.

The Christian community is called by God to become a light of hope in the society. In times of fear and desperation, the Christians need to share Jesus’ message of peace with the society. Christians should be seen to behave in a manner that is in line with God’s message of peace and reconciliation. Therefore, what we say and do should be the same. The Creator God has given us the power to effect change in our communities. No human being deserve to live with injustice. It is God’s will that there should be justice for all humanity. There is no situation that we cannot change when we act in solidarity with the power that God has given us.

Song (Chichewa)

Mulungu angathe, angathe, angathe//(God is able)

Mulungu angathe salephera//(God is able, God does not fail)

Iye ndiye Alepha Omega//(God is Alpha and Omega)

Oyamba, Otsiliza//(The beginning and the end)

Wachipulumutso chamoyo wanga//(God is the saviour of my life)

Mulungu angathe salephera.//(God is able, God does not fail)

A Popular Malawian Song

Prayer (All)

We thank you Creator God, for empowering each one of us with your Holy spirit to effect change. When Jesus was on earth, he taught us not to live in fear and desperation. Even where there is suffering you are there and you have a plan for your people. Your plan is good and brings life in abundance. You want to see justice on earth. You want us to be your instruments on earth to bring peace and justice. Give us courage to do what we know is right. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Benediction: May you always stand for peace, justice and Love in the name of Jesus.

Object/symbols/ideas: Candles, musical instruments.

By Isabel Apawo Phiri

8. Services on Stigma and Discrimination


Sermon Text: Job 3:1-26


Stigma is a condition that causes one to be shunned, discriminated against, and even persecuted for perceived or considered moral, ethnic, gender, health, economic, physical, religious, class, or social impropriety. The condition is seen either as a threat to the majority or powerful of the group. For instance, those who are HIV positive and publicly own up to it; young women pregnant out of wedlock, the disabled or physically challenged. Some are shunned and scorned for their cultural practices, for instance the uncircumcised in cultures that circumcise. Stigma brings with it devastating mental, social; spiritual, and economic consequences and suffering for the person who is stigmatized.

1. We Hear the Word of God


Ø In our text we get a glimpse of a stigmatized condition and the suffering that it engenders. It was generally believed among the Jews and other cultures that suffering was a curse from God especially when it was a seemingly righteous person who was suffering. Read chapters 1 and 2 as a background. Ask the congregation to share similar incidents that they have witnessed. It might be those who have been disfigured by fire or road accident.

Ø From chapter 1, we know that Job has the reputation of being a careful righteous person. Even after his domestic disaster, Job remains steadfast in his faith. However, in this chapter, we see a devastated Job who is depressed, mournful, suffering from a death wish, and glories in death as the only hopeful option. His changed situation has become odious to him and a stigma. Life has become for him vanity of vanities.

Ø In verses 1-10, Job curses the day he was born and wants it to perish from his historical memory. Birthdays are celebrated, but Job curses his birthday and finds no meaning in it. What are the things that he says should happen to that day?

Ø In verses 11-19, Job states some reasons why his birthday should be cursed. It ushered him in a world of trouble while in death all are at rest without any social distinctions. See verses 14,17,18and 19.

Ø In verses 20-26, Job states his existential predicament. He questions why light should be given to the miserable, life to the bitter. Having lost interest in life, such people do not die quickly in a natural way. He celebrates death instead of life. He feels hedged by God on all sides. That which they dread most is what comes to them. So they are restless, know no peace and quietness.

2. Applying the Word to Ourselves and the congregation


· We live in a universe of contending powerful forces in which we are often caught up and have to find a sense of direction and purpose. Currently we are caught up in the scourge of HIV/AIDS. There many lonely suffer who are devastated mentally, spiritually, and economically by it together with their families.
· While there is a place for silence in one’s suffering, there is also need to speak out as honestly as possibly what one is feeling and thinking at the time even if it means questioning the whole purpose of one’s existence.
· Those who are well should provide a listening ear to those who are suffering and empathize with them
· We do not always understand the reason for human suffering.


· We condemn the PLWHA’s out of ignorance. We often do seek to understand their circumstances and to hear their story.
· We are quick at speaking first and providing solutions.
· We associate illness and misfortune with sin to God’s punishment.


· That our birth was not an accident and that even if we walk in the path of the shadow of death the LORD is still our shepherd (see Psalm 23).
· That God hears and answers prayer.
· That death is not the answer it promises to be, but rather victory over death in Christ.


· Those who because of stigma are suffering from death-wish
· Those who are actually suicidal
· Caregivers for the HIV/AIDS sufferers
· For the orphans and grandparents
· For grieving parents who have lost their children.


· Ask the congregation to say what feelings this speech by Job evokes.


· More understanding, more compassionate, more caring and more sensitive to those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.


· Ask them how they feel and whether they have any fears. Reassure them of that fact that “the present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom.8:19).
· Assure them that God loves them and that God is not punishing them.
· Start support groups for PLWHA’s, widows, orphans and grieving parents.

3. Applying the Word to the Congregation and Society

The Bible makes it very clear that there is nobody who is righteous. We are all sinners needing the grace and forgiveness of God. We are all sick. Sin is the fundamental human deformity and predicament. This being the case, there is no moral ground for stigmatizing and discriminating against anyone on account of anything, and more so when most people are not even responsible for their condition or circumstances. Read Rom. 8:28, 31-39.

Song: Like Jairus (Nga ndi Yayiro, Sumu Za Ukhristu No. 281)

As Jairus of old, I beseech you
With me in haste to come to my home
There is sickness beyond cure
Please come quickly to assist me


Jesus my Saviour, Lo, I beseech you, today
Come to my rescue, Come to my rescue today

They are around me, and within me
And that’s why I often forget you
I beseech you, come and help me
Call me to heaven, your eternal home
But this moment, it’s me calling
Please come with me and assist me

Giver and sustainer of life,
Thank you that you know
And understand when we suffer.
You have even taken our infirmities upon yourself;
And with your wounds we are healed.
Grant us faith and courage
When we are overwhelmed
In the face of great suffering such
As HIV/AIDS, cancer, malaria and traumas of war.
Remove from us a sense of hopelessness,
When life’s meaning disappears
Behind the cloud of suffering.
May we focus our attention upon Christ
Who suffered and yet conquered,
Even Jesus. Amen

Suggested Objects/symbols/ideas
: Blanket, bed-sheet, wheelchair, bed, medicine bottle, sackcloth, sign post inscribed “UNCLEAN” etc.


Sermon Text: John 9:1 – 4


One of the factors that make the spread of HIV/ AIDS difficult to contain is the issue of stigma. Many people attach sin to the HIV positive status. Most people who live with HIV do not have the courage to come out in the open and declare their status for fear of discrimination. There are stories of people who have been rejected by their parents, relatives and friends simply because they admitted that they were HIV positive. Some have been killed.

Churches in Africa have not helped the situation because they have led the way in the moral persecution of people living with HIV/AIDS. They have accused them of promiscuity, being sinners and many other names. As a result many people living with HIV/AIDS would rather suffer or even die alone rather than go and disclose their situation to a pastor or church people. This is all because the Church has opted for a message of retribution instead of the gospel of love, forgiveness and compassion.

1. We listen to the word of God


Ø The disciples who asked the question, ‘who has sinned, this man or his parents?’ were asking a question that is typical throughout all generations. People who are victims of circumstances are often victimized further by being accused of sin.

Ø Jesus declares, ‘neither’, thereby releasing the man and his family from the clutches of societal condemnation.

2. We apply the Word to ourselves and the congregation

Like it was the case under Jewish religion many believe AIDS is punishment for sins committed by the person living with AIDS or his/her family. But Jesus’ answer to those who come asking, ‘who has sinned, this man or his parents?’ is most liberating.


People suffer from AIDS, poverty, disability or whatever condition not because they have sinned. We don’t suffer from these conditions not because we are righteous or better than those who suffer from them. Suffering is a mystery that cannot be explained away by using our prejudice against the sufferer. The stigma against people living with AIDS is unloving and most unchristian.

The disciples who asked Jesus about the sin of the man with the disability were victims of their own ignorance, prejudice and fear of the unknown. They gave a simplistic answer to the problem at hand. Likewise many of us distort the truth and tell ourselves that AIDS is a result of God’s punishment upon those with the virus. The result of this is that we isolate those who live with the virus and drive them underground. What we can learn from the response of Jesus is that we should see the HIV/AIDS context as an opportunity to show God’s love and care instead of stigmatization and Discriminating the infected.

We confess that:

· we have driven away people from the Church and from God by our ‘holier than thou’ attitude
· we have failed to make our churches loving and welcoming communities where all are embraced, irrespective of their conditions
· we have not understood the gospel of Jesus Christ which says, ‘Love your neighbor’, ‘take care of these little ones of mine’
· Up to now our churches remain unfriendly to PLWHA’s.

We thank God for:

· People who are positively living with HIV/AIDS regardless of the persecution they receive from the Church and other people
· The Spirit’s invitation to the Church to repent and to mend its ways
· Coping centers which provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS.


Let us pray:

· Creator God we offer our prayer for people living with AIDS
· Teach us to listen and to honor their pain and emotions
· forgive us for the time when we have held them hostage
· by accusing them of being immoral and not worthy of mercy
· we pray that you may help us to learn from the experience
· of those who are ridiculed, forsaken and insulted. Amen.


Amazing graze, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

That was grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fear relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
Gods’ grace has brought me safe thus far,
And he will lead me home

When we’ve been there then thousand years,
Bright shinning as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun
@ John Newton

Suggested idea:
You could get members of the congregation to do a role-play. This could be a woman who is living with AIDS coming into church to beg for some food. She is so emaciated, hungry and a little insane because the virus has infected her brain. As she gets into church people move away from her and choose to sit somewhere else. She is a little disruptive as she begs during the service. Then two strong men come and throw her out.

Sermon Text: Leviticus 12:1-8 & 15:19-24

Menstruation, which begins at puberty and ends with menopause, is a woman’s monthly discharge of blood and tissue that has built up during the previous month in the womb. This tissue lined the womb in preparation for the growth of a baby in case of conception, but is discharged when conception has not taken place. This discharge gives opportunity for the development of a new lining and the possibility of pregnancy in the coming month. This is a very powerful experience that only women go through yet Malawian traditions socially exclude from routine, women going through such and experience until she is considered “normal” again afterwards. Similarly with the after child birth discharges. She is basically excluded at two levels of her community life: daily routine and worship.

In Leviticus we find a similarly view.
These cultural gendered perspectives stigmatize women’s bodies. They equate women’s bodies with uncleanness, hence disease. In HIV/AIDS, this means that women are often the focus of study and the monitoring of the virus. They are likely to be more tested and to know their status than men. This, however, lands many women in trouble. Wives and girlfriends are blamed for bringing the disease home, sometime they are thrown out, sometimes killed. At the death of their spouses, even when it was an overt HIV/AIDS case, women still get blamed for witchcraft, thrown our of their houses and dispossessed. Stigma breeds violence and isolation. HIV/AIDS certainly has a gendered face, for women’s bodies have always been regarded as unclean.

1. We Listen to God’s Word

Menstruation is a biological process linked to a gift to bring out life that only women can do. It should be looked at as a gift from God who is sole creator but who has chosen to share this sacred experience with women. The story of Mary’s involvement in the process of God becoming human (incarnation) brings this reality clearly out (Luke 1:26-38). So this is an experience related with fertility and femininity and the joy of bearing children; and defined as “manner of women”, a term free from sinister connotations. It is the joy of womanhood and it is a blessing not a curse!


Leviticus I5: 19-24 is ‘ethical’ account of how a menstruating woman was supposed to behave according to the Jewish law. “Proscriptive ‘laws’ concerning menstruating women (
nidda), women after childbirth and women with irregular blood issue (zaba) are included among the laws of purity and impurity in the book of Leviticus” Nidda as euphemism for “menstruant” might be derived either from the Hebrew root ndh (set apart, cast out, ban, separate) or ndd (move away) both of which seem to describe the social position of a bleeding woman in regard to her family and society. According Mary Douglas, while such laws have no hygienic connotations, they can be used to: 1) assert male superiority and female inferiority; 2) assert separation of gender roles (Douglas 1966).

In Leviticus 12:1-8 the rituals of cleansing given differ depending on the gender of the child born. While after the birth of a boy child, the woman is considered unclean for the first seven days like
nidda, and the next 23 days considered unclean in regard to temple and sacred things only, after the birth of a girl child, however, the woman is considered unclean the first 14 days, and the next 66 days she is unclean in regard to the temple and sacred things. While in the Greek codes the stipulations seem to be characterized by gender asymmetry, the language of exclusion is more stringent towards women and women seem to be seen as a source of pollution.

According to the priestly code, menstrual blood like blood after birth has negative associations. It is considered a major source of defilement. A woman who was menstruating was also described as “ill” and “unwell” (
dawa). Sex with a menstruating woman, therefore, was considered contaminating just like illicit sex was. Sex with a menstruating woman as a result of human free choice was considered as an incurable impurity. Within this priestly code, impurity and sanctity (holiness) interrelated (Lev 11:43-44). Sin and guilt offerings required both from a person who has committed a sin and from those rendered unclean.

2. We Apply God’s Word to Ourselves

· Women’s bodies are discriminated in many cultures.


· Our inferiority complexes that have led us to discriminate others whose power scare us.
· Contributing to an environment that make those we discriminate against live below what you, our God, have ordained for them.
· Paralyzing your presence in our communities because of our judgmental attitudes. Our gender based stigma in the context of HIV/AIDS.


· We are your image with dignity whether women or men.
· Our bodies are your sanctuary whether in menses or not.


· That God opens our eyes to see God’s face in women even those who are living with AIDS.
· The Holy Spirit to fill us with love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control so as to be able to minister these banners of service to those around us despite their experiences.


· Anger at such biases
· Frustration at the fact that some women have accepted such biases to define them.

· A healing community


· Resist such biases through preaching and teachings.
· Affirm women’s sexuality and the importance and sacredness of their bodies.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation and Society

In its socialization process, the community through both the Christian sexuality education institutions and the traditional ones should help the girls to appreciate their bodies together with the biological processes involved as God’s gift. Menstruation taboos that encourage stigma like a woman in menses not putting salt in foods that require salt, should be rid of, while those that ensure safety of the man as well as woman should be encouraged to be observed by both (woman in menses as well as a man with a discharge).

Just as I am without one plea

Just as I am without one plea
O Lamb of God I come, I come

Just as I am, though tossed about
Fighting’s, fears within, without
O Lamb of God I come, I come
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God I come, I come.

Just as I am-Thou wilt receive,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God I come, I come

Just as I am-Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
O Lamb of God I come, I come.

A leader asks the people participating in this worship to pray for each and every part of their bodies while touching each part as they silently pray for it. This action helps emphasize the fact that each part of our body is a member of the temple of the Living God so we can commit it to our God who created it. In conclusion, after giving enough time to pray for each part of the body, the leader can start the prayer that was taught by Jesus. Each member can be asked to pray in his or her own language.

Suggested objects:
Strings of red beads, white beads etc.

9. Services on Love and Sexuality
Sermon Text: Songs of Songs: 1:1-7

Opening Prayer/Words:

My dear people,
Let us love one another
Since love comes from God
And everyone who loves
Is begotten of God and knows God
Anyone who fails to love
Can never have known God (1 John 4:7-11).

: (An appropriate song of love may be sung)


The HIV/AIDS pandemic is forcing us to think and talk about sexuality more often and more openly than before. Sexuality is no longer just a private matter for an individual to ponder in isolation, for one of the consequences of human sexual expression today is HIV/AIDS. However, by sexuality we must understand more than sex or lovemaking. Sexuality includes reference to all notions, words, gestures and organs considered sexual. It refers to relationship of power. In a world where sexuality has been either pushed into the private sphere or perverted into obscenity it is important for the church to speak and to comment on what sexuality is and/or aught to be about. For too long the church has shied away from speaking about sexuality. The devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is such that we can no longer keep silent. Equally important is the question of romantic love - a special and unique gift that God has bestowed upon us. One of the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been to make people fearful of falling in love and distrusting of love. As a result there has been growing lovelessness in our societies. Concerned about the spread of HIV/AIDS much focus has been on sex and condoms and less on love. We believe that love is as important if not more. It could be that in reaction to the HIV/AIDS epidemic we are spending too much time and energy teaching (safer) sex than love. Should the former not be a servant the latter? The church cannot look on as sexuality and love as perverted for narrow hedonistic aims.
1. We Listen to the Word of God

(Read from Song of Songs 1:1-7)

This passage contains a shameless and explicit declaration of love by a woman for a man. It is not a passage often hear read at church. But why not? Romantic love is something created by God and it aught to be celebrated. What is more, if this passageis anything to go by, both men and women have a right to speak shamelessly and explicitly about their feelings of love. We meet in this passage a woman who is not afraid to express herself as a sexual being and to see her lover as a sexual being as well. Nor does she hide her desire for the man whom she loves.
2. We Apply the Word of God and to ourselves


· That sexuality and love are gifts from God which aught to be celebrated
· That there sexuality is beautiful
· That it is appropriate to speak honestly and openly about love and sexuality
· That both men and women are free to express themselves on love and sexuality.


· That the church has had a phobia for talking about sexuality and love
· That we have looked on as others in society have distorted love and sexuality
· That in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic we might have spent more effort talking about sex but not enough effort on love and sexuality.


· That God created us as sexual beings and that is part and parcel of having been created in the image of God
· For the gift of love even in the times of HIV/AIDS.


· We pray for the church to become bolder in its engagement with matters of sexuality and love
· We pray for a balance between talk about (safer) sex and talk about romantic love especially when talking to young people.

3.We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· We feel relieved that there are sections of the Bible that speak openly about sexuality and love, indicating that it is appropriate for us to do the same.


· We must accept ourselves as sexual beings who can and should fall in love
· We can encourage Christians and their churches to speak more freely about matters of love and sexuality

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

If we are to succeed in our campaigns against HIV/AIDS we shall have to deal with the philosophical and cultural barriers that prevent open and honest talk about sexuality and love in the church. Young people cannot be handed over to television and cinema to teach them about sexuality and love. The Bible is very explicit about matters of love and sexuality, we aught to be and do the same.

Prayer of Commitment

Lord makes us brave to speak about sexuality and love in the church. We ask that you transform your church to shed the centuries old shyness to openly confront issues of sexuality. Above all, we ask that the church may become an important institution for love education. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

(An appropriate love song may be sung)

Symbols/Objects/ideas and Commitments:
Roses, candles and drawings of hearts, play a love song, roses, or any appropriate symbols of love.

Sermon Text: Song of Songs 7:1-13


Sexuality explores the sexual dimension of human life. God created human beings with powerful sexual feelings, although these can be controlled. However, in the historical development of Christianity, a negative attitude to sexuality has tended to dominate. As a consequence, the link between sexuality and spirituality has been severed. Most African cultures, however, used rites of passage to impart lessons on sexuality to young people. The demonisation of sex, the portrayal of women as temptresses and negative attitudes towards the human body are significant themes in developing appropriate responses.

It is not surprising that the Song of Songs has been “decanonised” by default. Due to a rather conservative and puritanical approach to human sexuality, this sacred text has continued to play a minimal role in the life of the church. It challenges Christians to talk about sexuality realistically and to acknowledge its potency. Issues relating to condom use, pornography, child sexual abuse and others should be openly discussed as we search for godly ways of expressing our sexuality, especially in the HIV/AIDS context.

1. We listen to the Word of God

The passage serves to celebrate a woman’s body and its power to attract. It acknowledges the reality and force of sexual attraction, recognizing it is a divine creation. It also highlights the centrality of sexuality to a loving relationship. The text identifies female erogenous zones and encourages couples to discover each other. This appreciation of one’s partner curtails behavior that increases exposure to HIV/AIDS.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Sexuality is God’s gift to humanity
· Couples need to appreciate each other
· Christians need to break the silence concerning sexuality, particularly in the era of HIV/AIDS.


· Negative attitudes to sexuality, including the tabooing of any open discussion
· Many men and women have exposed their partners to HIV/AIDS
· Celebration of the female body has resulted in pornography
· The aspect of love has been removed from most sexual encounters
· Failing to be romantic in marriage, leading to unfaithfulness
· Abusing the sexual instinct and increasing the spread of HIV
· The commercialization of women’s bodies, leading to rape.


· God created sexual feelings within us
· Many individuals remain faithful
· We all have a full control over our sexual desires.


· That we may recognize the potency of sexuality in our lives and act responsibly. We should pray for more information and debate concerning this important aspect of our lives. We also ask for the power to abstain and to be faithful, but most importantly, to find ways that will make us enjoy our relationship with our partners.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

Highlight the importance of opening debate on sexuality. With the congregation, identify factors that have led to the demonisation of sexuality. It is also important to illustrate the stigma that emerges from associating HIV/AIDS exclusively with sexuality.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

Mutually faithful, loving relationships go a long way in checking the spread of HIV. Society needs to recover positive attitudes to sexuality without succumbing to promiscuity and commercialisation of sex. In addition, there is need for strategies to counter female sexual abuse, stigma, and uncreative approaches to issues of sexuality.


“Malaika” By Mariam Makeba or any popular love song.


Holy and loving God,

From whose expert hand we proceed,

We thank you for the gift of sexuality.

We praise you for your mighty works.

Guide us that we may appreciate our bodies,

That we may express our sexuality in a responsible way.

Lead us to accept that we are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Forgive us when we minimize your creation.

Teach us to avoid abusing the power of sexual attraction.

Give us courage to denounce all systems that commercialize human bodies.

By your Spirit, enable us to cherish our sexuality

Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Suggested objects/symbols/ideas: Roses (love); perfume; carving of embracing couple, beads, indigenous calabash of love, you may read any popular or load poem on human love and attraction, or any object that symbolizes love in your community.

Sermon Text: Song of Songs 8: 1-10


Although the book of Song and Songs is very positive about human sexuality, many religious leaders, institutions, and church groups are extremely uncomfortable with issues related to sex, sexuality and sexual health, all of which are closely linked to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Talking about sex and sexuality in church is very difficult owing to the historic silence and outright condemnation of these issues by church fathers. Also, African tradition does not seem to be encouraging open and free discussion of such issues. The fact that HIV/AIDS was first found among homosexuals did not help matters for HIV/AIDS came to be seen as a judgment from God against sexual immorality. In other instances, church leaders simply lack accurate information to inform their teachings and sermons. Traditional ways of preparing young people in the area of sex, sexuality and sexual health have been challenged by rapid urbanization, cultural change, poverty in the cash economy, selfishness, excessive ambition, greed, war, commercialization of sex, stigma and discrimination based on gender, age and social status.

Many of our sermons therefore do not address the issue of sexuality and when they do they are based on suspicion, fear and church tradition, rather than reason, conviction and revelation. With HIV/AIDS related funerals occurring daily, AIDS orphans increasing and our family structures slowly but steadily collapsing, the mission of breaking the silence and discomfort surrounding issues of sexuality cannot be postponed any further.

1. We listen to the word of God

(Choose someone to read the Songs of Songs 8:1-10)

The whole text celebrates the intimate and constant attraction to married or betrothed partners.

Verses 1- 7:

Ø These are strong explanations of love and sexual feelings between rightful partners. The expressions do not provoke feeling of guilt, fear or shame to cause the bride and bridegroom to hide their “love talk” or their practical consummation of it. By contrast, wrongful sexual advances and unions are in one way or the other always accompanied by the feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, self hate and emptiness that one feels. He/she has let down themselves, their parents, children, friends, guardians, teachers, rightful spouses, and God, whether the sexual advances and unions lead to HIV/AIDS or not. Consequently, such sexual unions are usually accompanied by a hiding in the “bush” under the desks in the classroom or office, in the lodge, in friends and neighbors’ homes and in dark corners of the gardens or disco halls.

Verse 8-10:

Ø Explain the important fact that girls and boys are expected to preserve their virginity until their wedding day – that is the use of the words “wall” and “door” in Verse 9 and Verse 10. If she is a wall (virgin) we will build upon her a battlement of silver (but if she is a door (has lost his virginity we will enclose her brands of cedar). Virginity, however, is also expected from boys.

Verse 10:

Ø The bride takes pride of virginity and the consequent happiness the bridegroom felt. “I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers, then I was in his eyes as one who brings peace.”

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· The creation of human kind in two sexes (man and woman) was not accidental or an after thought but God’s great intention and purpose.
· Sexual unions (in marriage) were intended by God to offer psychological, physical emotional and social satisfaction and spiritual lessons apart from increasing the human race.
· Premarital sexual intercourse (whether it leads to marriage or not) was viewed with great dismay through the Bible times among God fearing people.
· Premarital and ex- marital sexual relations and sex industry are still wrong today as they were in the Bible times whether they lead to being caught or not; contraction of STD’s and HIV/AIDS or not or whether not nor they lead to unwanted pregnancies.


· We have not upheld the positive view of sexuality portrayed by the Bible
· We have not properly explained the beauty and mystery of sex, sexuality, and healthy relationships
· We have dwelt mostly on the negative aspects of sex and sexuality.
· We have separated issues of “love” from issues of “sex”
· We have demonized sex and sexuality.


· That God created men and women for each other
· That the Song of Songs is recorded for us in the bible
· That we have leaders, parents, and individuals who have tried to put issues of sexuality into their rightful context.


· That God gives us wisdom to teach about what is right and what is safe about sex, sexual acts and relationships in the light of HIV/AIDS.

3. We apply God’s word to the congregation and the world


· Many are too shy about communicating issues on sex, sexuality and sexual health.
· Many do not differentiate between right and safe celebrations of our sexuality
· Many are not trained in communicating accurate facts and skills to their children as demanded by Proverbs 22:6.


· Proverbs 22:6 says “train the child in the way he/she should go and you sure are that even when he/she grows old; he/she will never depart from it”. So “If we are silent about sexual issues and the young people are neglected and our offspring become as wild beasts it will be in the fault of our silence and we shall have to render full account of it” (Luther, vol. 46. The Christian in society Part 3 pages 218).
· If the Christian family cannot give answers to the teenagers, the family will lose them to someone who can. If the church is to be silent too, the church will loose them too.
· Don’t criticize God’s work or call evil that which God has called well in Genesis 2:18.


· In Luke 2:52 Jesus grows in wisdom, physical, social and spiritual health. Indeed the vigor and strength of a Christian community depends upon the health of its children, youths, couples and elders.

· We need to report and begin to speak the language AIDS can hear taking the example of Jesus who in his earthly life grew both in wisdom, in physical health and in spiritual and social relationship (Luke 2:52).
· The Song of Songs reminds us that human sexuality is one of the most beautiful aspects of all the divine plans for humanity.
· Ignorance misconceptions and inappropriate views about sex, sexuality and sexual health need to be at the core of concerns for Christians and their leaders.

(choose any appropriate song)


Dear God we thank you the creator. You made us the temple of your Spirit. You made us sexual beings. Help us to be responsible express our sexuality openly. Help us to enjoy our sexuality in rightful relationships. Help us to teach our children about responsible sexuality. Help us fight HIV/AIDS. In Jesus name, we pray. AMEN.

Suggested ideas/Symbols:
Heart shapes, roses, beads, flowers, love songs, etc.

Sermon Text: Luke 15:11-32


“This is the great new problem of humankind. We have inherited a large house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together - black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu - a family unduly separated in ideas, cultures and interests, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow, to live with each other in peace” [Martin Luther King Jr, cited in
Coming Together/Coming Apart. Religion, Community and Modernity, 1997. Bounds, Elizabeth M. New York: Routledge, p.1].

Lord we recognize that we live in a polarized world. It is a world divided between white and Black, men and women, children and adults, rich and poor, HIV positive and HIV negative people - a world of national, and ethnic divisions. We pray for an end to these divisions, which are tearing communities apart. We pray especially for reconciliation between humans and the rest of creation. We ask for wisdom and courage from you Lord so we may acknowledge the reality of these divisions, confront their bases and seek to overcome them.

(An appropriate song on the theme of reconciliation may be sung)


One of the effects of HIV/AIDS is to further complicate the division and alienation that is already there in society. A whole new set of ‘untouchables’ has been added to the already well-known one of Blacks, women, the poor and the like. The new group of alienated people is HIV positive people. What is worse, the suspicion and not even the fact that HIV might affect one is enough to trigger a whole series of discriminatory experienced. Effectively therefore what HIV/AIDS has done is to throw communities into further division. Not only do rich countries - whose HIV/AIDS rates are declining and under control - treat the incidence of HIV/AIDS in other countries as if it was not a priority, some of them are directly or indirectly adding HIV/AIDS status as an immigration requirement for many people coming from poor countries. There are recorded incidents of people who have been disowned by friends and kin after disclosing their HIV status. But people do not have to be infected with the virus for its devastating effects to be felt. The possibility and fear of HIV/AIDS infection alone has ensured that people live in suspicion of one another with the levels of trust reaching an all time low. There are low levels of trust and high levels of alienation in many communities. Reconciliation is therefore emerging as an important message for the Christian church to proclaim.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read Luke 15: 11-32.

One of the reasons this story is so popular and unforgettable is that it tells a very realistic human story. It was all sparked off by the demand of the younger son to cut ties with his father and by brother. So he sets off with his inheritance. Modern commentators may see well in the younger son’s push for independence. They may chastise the older son for his continuing dependency on the father. They will most probably praise the father for letting go - something that is often difficult for parents. [One wonders about the mother and other siblings - have they been edited out of the parable because they are women? It would have been interesting to know their views and roles in the development of the story]. Indeed even though the independence project of the younger son is later shown to have failed dismally, some may still argue that he came back wiser than he would have ever been had he not ventured out into the unknown. This line of interpretation displays the younger son and the father in good light and the older son in very bad light. We miss a crucial point in the story if all we do is to try and sort out the good son from the bad son. Nor is it helpful to proceed by generating a list of good and bad points of each of the three characters.

An important and basic point in the story is that three people who lived in community and fellowship lost that community and fellowship. They became alienated one from the other. Such was the depth and pain of the alienation that the ending of the story suggests that it no longer quite mattered who was right and who was wrong. For all we know, and if we were to conceptualize this story, the younger son could have come back, not only destitute and hungry, but also HIV positive. Without a well balanced diet for so long, his health may have deteriorated rapidly. The father could have chosen to give his son a lengthy, I-told-you-so lecture. But his skinny frame must have stung his father’s eyes so that he immediately had compassion on him. When alienation and enmity runs deep and its ghastly fruits are there for all to see and touch, it may become necessary to go beyond finger-pointing if we are to achieve reconciliation.

This is precisely what the father does. He goes beyond finger pointing. For him the community that was once shared between him and his sons is far too important to be sacrificed at the alter of an I-told-you-so self-righteous ethic. At least three members of a family that has not been able to live in community for too long have an opportunity to live in community again. If the father is ready to try community again and to be reconciled to his son, the two sons appear unsure and reluctant. The younger son suggests that he be henceforth treated as if he was no son. An astounding suggestion. How does a son get treated as if he was no son? The older son suggests that the younger son has lost all rights and privileges of brotherhood - calling him ‘this son of yours’ - and son ship. Indications are that since the departure of the younger son, the remaining father and son were never able to live in community themselves; at least not in the manner that they had experienced community before. Hence the return of the younger son becomes an occasion for the older son to voice his reservations - reservations he had probably held ever since that fateful day when his younger brother set off into the unknown.

The return of the younger son has potential to reconcile the lost son to the two who remained at home, but also to restore relations between the father and the older son. In this context, is reconciliation and community possible? The father thinks so. His response is that a son is back home. This of course does not mean that he will not sit the son down for a serious heart to heart discussion. It should not mean that he would pretend that what happened never happened. It should not mean that the father would pretend not to be hurt and not to be angry. But all of these are expressed within a context where sons are regarded as such and encouraged to restore the brotherhood they share. It is a sad day when sons and daughters are treated as if they were hirelings in their own home - whether this is done as punishment or as a consequence of stigma and discrimination. Reconciliation is a process but unless the correct starting points and context as set at the beginning, it is likely to remain forever illusive.
2. We Apply the Word of God and to ourselves


· We learn that alienation is painful and can go very deep.
· That it is not acceptable for daughters and sons to live as if they were slaves in their own households. Could it be that because of stigma, HIV positive daughters and sons are being treated as if they were slaves and hirelings?
· That it is necessary to go beyond finger pointing if reconciliation is to be initiated. HIV positive people deserve to be reconciled to the their spouses, children, extended families, communities and churches so it is important to go beyond finger-pointing.
· Although reconciliation is a process it is important to create the right context and employ the correct starting points in initiating it. The son ship and daughterhood of HIV positive people is a non-negotiable starting point. They are bearers of the image of God even as they lie emaciated in hospital beds.


· We confess that we have often failed to grasp the depth and pain of alienation that HIV/AIDS unleashes on families and in communities.
· We confess that we have often not gone further than finger pointing - even in our sermons.
· We confess that we have to strive to ensure that the appropriate context and starting points are in place in order to the reconciliation process to be authentic.
· We confess that some of our churches have continued to either look on when HIV positive people are treated as ‘hirelings’ by governments and communities. What is worse they have even sometimes been treated as such inside the church.


· We can be thankful that public opinion is slowly changing about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. With signs that more and more people are willing to fight stigma
· We can be thankful that some HIV positive people find support from their families, communities and churches·

More and more governments are taking HIV treatment and prevention very seriously
· For the millions of health workers and other volunteers who work with HIV positive people and AIDS sufferers.

· For increased awareness of the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS on community and the alienation that it causes
· For an increased understanding of the way the virus spreads and the way in which its effects may be postponed
· For more trust and more hope in communities devastated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· We should feel inspired to combat HIV/AIDS at the level where it spreads distrust, hopelessness and alienation
· We should feel concerned that HIV/AIDS tears communities and families apart at so many different levels.


· We can be brave and bold in the knowledge that the alienating effects of HIV/AIDS can be reversed.


· We can engage in trust building activities with infected and affected people.

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

HIV/AIDS attacks community. It spreads alienation, causing spouses, parents and children, and whole communities to be alienated one from the other. The message of reconciliation has therefore become very important in the work of the church in these times. It is the duty of the church to build bridges between people torn apart by HIV/AIDS. For this to happen it will be necessary for the church to take people beyond finger pointing but to do so without refraining from facilitating deep communication and discussion between the infected and the affected.

Prayer of Commitment

My head is heavy, my shoulders shrug
because despite
all my eyes have seen
my head has said
my heart has felt,
I do not believe
that White, Black and Yellow
cannot talk, walk, eat, kiss and share ...
[From a poem titled: “An Agony” by Joyce Nomafa Sikakane, reproduced in full by De Gruchy, John 1986.
Cry Justice! London: Collins, p.155-156]

[an appropriate song with the reconciliation theme may be sung]

Symbols/Objects/ideas and Commitments:
The cross, shaking hands, pictures of people hugging.
11. Healing Service

Suggested Reading Mark 1:40-42 & Luke 7:20-22

Instructions: In preparation, get your choir or worship leaders to practice the song, giving it the most appropriate tune for the theme of the service and the audience. Assign different readers to read different scriptures and lead with prayers. The aim of this service is to heal its participants: bodily, spiritually, mentally, socially, economically etc. It also seeks to get participants to realize that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic within other social diseases of poverty, gender inequality, violence, human rights violations, national and international injustice—which must also be healed. If you are in a small group get people to sit in a circle. If you are in a big worship group, let people sit down where they are. The readers can read where they are seated if their voices are sufficiently clear. Close the service by serving the Lord’s Supper as part of the healing process.

Call to Worship

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and I will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and might; God has become my salvation.” (Isa. 12:2)

Song: Heal Our land

(Or any appropriate song)

Heal our Land, oh Lord (2x)
Heal our land (3x) 2x

Bind our wounds oh Lord 2x
Bind our wounds (3x) 2x

Refodise Morena (2x)
Refodise Morena (3x) 2x

Re tle Matshidiso Morena (2x)
Re tshidise Morena (3x) 2x
@ Musa W. Dube

Reader 1: Mark 1:40-42

: He took our infirmities and bore our diseases

Reader 2: Luke 7:20-22

He took our infirmities and bore our diseases
Song: Heal our Land

Heal our Land, oh Lord (2x)
Heal our land (3x) 2x

Bind our wounds oh Lord 2x
Bind our wounds (3x) 2x

Prayer of Confession and Healing

We confess that:
We are a church infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
We are a church suffering from opportunistic infections.
We are a church living with and dying with HIV/AIDS.
We are a church suffering from stigma and discrimination.
Heal us Lord. Bind our wounds.

We bring our hearts to you for healing.
We bring our souls to you for your healing.
We bring our minds to you for your healing.
We bring our broken hearts and families for healing.
Heal us Lord. Bind our wounds and have mercy on us.

Heal us Lord with your resurrection power.
Cause us to rise from fear and hopelessness.
Cause us to rise into your resurrection hope.
Heal us and fill us with your Spirit of power and life.

Heal our land, oh Lord.
(You may choose another appropriate song)

Prayer for Holistic Healing

Leader 1: Heal us from bodily pains of HIV/AIDS,

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 2: Heal us from our broken hearts and grief,
All: (Clap hands twice)
Leader 3 Heal us from psychological pains of HIV/AIDS,

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 4 Heal us from HIV/AIDS social stigma and discrimination

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 5 Heal us from unhealthy family relations,

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 6 Heal us from unhealthy gender relations,

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 7 Heal us from poverty that exposes millions to HIV/AIDS.

(Clap hands twice)

Leader 8 Heal us from violence that spreads HIV/AIDS.

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 9 Heal us from national corruption,

(Clap hands twice)
Leader 10 Heal us from international injustice,

(Clap hands twice)
Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine
(Or any appropriate song)

The Lord’s Supper is served

(The Eucharist is served as part of our healing)

Sizo hamba naye (In Thuma Mina, 180)

The Lord’s Prayer (each in their own language)

Suggested Objects/symbols/ideas:
The Lord’s supper, or sharing the water of life.
By Musa W. Dube

Part 4
Services for Specific Groups

1. Children

Mark 5: 21-43 (MWD)
Matthew 2:1-3 (TSM)
Lucas 18:15-17 (FC)

2. The Boy-child

Gen. 39: 1-10 (ACM)
Proverbs 4:1-23 (EC)
Genesis 39:1-10 (CD)

3. The Girl-Child

i. 2 Samuel 13 (IAP)
ii. Judges 11:34-40 (TSM)

4. Youth

i. Ecclesiastes1:7-12:1-8 (MPPD)

5. Parents & Parenthood

i. 1 Samuel 2:2-17 (CD)
ii. Matthew 15:21-28 (MWD)

6. Men and Fatherhood

i. Genesis 19:1-11 (TSM)
ii. Matthew 1:18-24 (CD)

7. Women

i. Proverbs 31:10-31 Ruth 1-2 (EC)
ii. Ruth 1-2 (IAP)

8. Widows and Widowhood

i. Luke 18:1-8 (MWD)
ii. Ruth 1:1-22 (FC)

9. Homosexuals

i. I John 4: 7-21(MWD)


i. Jeremiah 17:5-10 (EC)

11. Community/Local Leader:

i. Nehemiah 1-4(CD)

12. HIV/AIDS Workers/Activist

i. Matt. 9:35-38 & John 21: 15-18

1. Services on Children

Suggested Passage: Mark 5: 21-43

Depending on the context and what the preacher wants to achieve, you may wish to run an interactive service between children and adults. In this case, you may begin by highlighting the different situations confronting children, by using the provided poetic opening. Get many different children to read the line of the poem—either from where they are sitting or to come to the front. This will be followed by the adult response, a song and a sermon. The closing will also be an interactive prayer between children and adults/parents. The preacher may decide to use some of the suggested symbols to highlight the situation of children in difficult circumstances, especially HIV/AIDS context.

Ngwana yo osa le leng a swela tharing// A child who does not cry out (makes h er/himself heard) can die on her/his mother’s back.

Poetic Opening:

Child 1: I am the child in your house, loved and cared for by you.

Child 2: I am the child in your church, known or unknown to you.

Child 3: I am the child in your schools, passing or failing my subjects.

Child 4: I am a street child, standing beside your roads, dirty and eating from the
dumping sites.

Child 5: I am the child targeted by media, drugs and commerce, tempted by sugar
daddies and mummies with their money.

Child 6: I am a child soldier in the war-torn zones, carrying a gun and killing

Child 7: I am the child in a poverty stricken home, sold into slavery and sex work.

Child 8: I am a child in my own home, caring for my sick and dying parents.

Child 9: I am an orphan in a child-headed home, caring for my siblings; facing
stigma and uncertain future.

Child 10: I am a child in your house sexually molested by relatives and strangers,
who want to cleanse themselves of HIV/AIDS.

Child 11: I am the sickly child in your midst, born HIV+ from my infected parents.
Child 12: I am the disabled/physically challenged child, forgotten by your institutions
and strategic plans.

All Children: We are children of the world.
We are today’s citizens.
We are the speaking children, seeking your hearing.
We are children knocking at your door.
Open the door for us in God’s household.

Congregational/Adult Response:

Leader: All children are a blessing from God,

All: And it takes a village to raise a child.

Leader: All children are special before God.

All: Help us to be a village that raises children.

Leader: All children are called to come unto Christ.

All: For the kingdom of God belongs to them.

Leader: God welcomes all children.

All: Help us to welcome all children in our homes and churches.

Reading of the text: Mark 5:21-43

In many societies and cultures children are powerless. They do not have the right to speak and to be heard, they are dependent upon their guardians and parents for survival and mostly they do not have legal rights or representation in the government. While in the past parents and all elders in most African countries were held to be responsible parents, this can no longer be assumed. Many parents are shackled by wars, poverty, labor immigration, displacement and HIV/AIDS to play their role effectively. This has left many children particularly vulnerable to abuse. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has particularly added to the vulnerability of children as powerless members of their societies. Many are orphaned, grieved and left with no parental guidance or provision, hence open to sexual abuse, labor exploitation, uncertain future, stigma and discrimination, rape, poverty. We now have child-headed homes, whose chances of going to school successfully are often very slim. They become school dropouts, they fall to teenage pregnancy and face a high chance of HIV/AIDS infection.

In the story of Mark 5:21-43 we are confronted by a desperate parent in search for the healing his child. We also realize that Jesus takes seriously the importance of saving children from death. He walks with a desperate parent to see his sick and dying child. He arrives at the bedside of the dead child and calls a little girl from death to life. The story gives us a good example for parenting in the HIV/AIDS era, where children live under the threat of death. It particularly calls for caring fathers and men to protect the girl-child from HIV/AIDS death.

1. We listen to the Word of God


Verse 21-24:

Ø The verses provide the setting details of the story. Jesus is just landing by the sea and he is surrounded by a crowd. It is in this situation that a desperate parent (Jairus) comes to Jesus.

Ø It is important to highlight that Jairus is religious leader, a father and a man. He can become a model for both church leaders and fathers to care and to seek for life and health for their children.

Ø Highlight that this child is also a daughter. The girl-child tends to be marginalized and neglected, but both Jairus and Jesus care for her life and health.

Ø Underline that Jesus, despite his fame, walks with Jairus, a desperate parent. Jesus could have pronounced the child well without going there, so it is significant that he takes the time to walk with the parent to the sick and dying child.

Verses 25-35:

Ø Jesus gets delayed in order to meet the needs of another desperate patient—the bleeding woman, who has been sick for twelve years. This delay leads to the death of the little girl.

Ø Highlight that in a society where many are suffering from incurable diseases, attention to children is inevitably divided.

Verses 36-37:

Ø Note Jesus’ response: he gives hope to Jairus. Underline that Jesus says, “do not fear, only believe.” That is, he speaks against hopelessness, fear and insists on hope.

Ø Jesus courageously confronts death and does not allow it to plant fear and hopelessness.

Verse 38-39:

Ø Note the reality of death, attested by mourning, weeping, wailing and commotion. This confirms the message of the messengers. The little girl is dead.

Ø Highlight how Jesus still insists on hope: he still refuses to let death to plant fear and grieve. He insists on life, “The child is not dead,” he says. This is stubborn faith and hope.

Verses 40-43:

Ø Note how Jesus accompanies the parents of the child to where the child is lying.

Ø Highlight that he takes the disciples with him—indicating that such a role is expected from his followers, the church.

Ø Note the touch. Jesus touches the girl. Jesus is not deterred by cultural beliefs that sometimes equate dead bodies with uncleanness. He breaks cultural barriers.

Ø Note that he calls her back to life from her sleep of death.

Ø It is important to emphasize her response: she rises and starts walking. This point challenges the children themselves—they need to hear the voice of Christ calling them from death to life.

Ø Jesus commands that she should be given food. This an important point to emphasize, especially since many children die due to hunger and starvation.

Ø In sum underline that Jesus refuses to let death and hopelessness to have the final word. He refuses death to invade children. He refuses hunger and illness to invade children. He accompanies desperate parents and calls children to life. The church needs to play this role in the HIV/AIDS era.

2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· We should not give up to search for the healing of our children
· We need to walk with desperate parents to their homes
· We can call our children from death to life
· Children can learn to appreciate their parents’ care
· Children can learn to hear the voice of Christ that call them from death to life.


· Prayer of confession:
· We confess that we have not always been a good village for children to grow
· We confess that we are not always a child-friendly church in our services
· In the HIV/AIDS era we have exposed children to sexual violence and rape
· We confess that orphaned children are abused, exploited and stigmatized
· We confess that we have not been a parenting church to child-headed homes
· We confess that we have not fed the orphans or provided for their needs
· We confess that we have not reached out to the street and the grieved child
· Help us Lord to welcome children as we welcome the One who sent you.


· For our children
· For a God who welcomes children
· For parents who are struggling to raise and provide for their children
· For grandmothers who are parenting orphaned children
· For governments, NGOs and agencies that work for children’s wellbeing.


· For a parenting church
· For churches that are child-friendly in all of their departments
· For leadership in providing the needs of orphaned children
· For governments to provide legal protection for children in the HIV/AIDS era.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· A child-friendly and parenting church.


· Set up child-friendly services in the church
· Set up day-care centers for orphaned children
· Set up feeding and counseling services for needy and grieving children, especially orphans
· Collaborate with NGOs and agencies that work with children’s needs
· Pressurize our governments to legally protect all children
· Pressurize governments to rectify and implement the Convention for Children’s rights.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

While most of societies, cultures and families are still not used or open to the concepts of children’s rights, the wide abuse and exploitation of children underlines the need for these. In particular, the rubbishing of children, manifested by the rape of young girls by men and male relatives who seek to cleanse themselves of HIV/AIDS underlines the need to protect the rights of children, particularly the girl-child. The Christian church can seek to become a parenting church, a church that calls for fathers who protect their girl-children and church that insists on calling on children from death to life. The church can become advocates for children rights. Like Jairus, church leaders, must take a lead role in protecting children.

While it cannot be assumed that the church subscribes to children rights, the gospel compels Christians to protect children. In particular, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them” (Mk 10:13-16). He also said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me” (Mark 9: 37). These scriptures are sufficient to give the church a theology of children that protects children in the wider society, especially in this HIV/AIDS era.

Song: The Sun is Rising Upon Africa

You can chant this song in a poetic form, or get some youth to rap it in their own tune, or choose another suitable song)

Lead voice:

The sun is rising upon Africa
The sun has risen upon Africa
The sun is blooming upon Africa
The whole continent is wearing light

All voices:

Yea, shine my heart, lay my heart, Sing my heart, laugh my heart, jump heart
For God liveth (3x)
Yea, ring my heart, harp, drum, dance, clap, smile, play
For God liveth (3x)
God liveth (2x)

Lead voice:

The sun is rising upon Botswana
The sun has risen upon the skies of Botswana
The sun is shinning upon the face of Botswana
The whole nation is wearing light
For God liveth (2x) God liveth (2x)

All voices:

Yea shine my child, play child, laugh my child, jumb my child, shout my heart
For God liveth (3x)
Yea ring my child, hard, drum, dance, clap, smile, play,
For God liveth (3x) God liveth (2x)

The sun is rising upon my heart
The sun has risen upon my soul
The sun is shining upon my my brows
My whole body is wearing light
For God liveth (3x) God liveth (2x)

Yea, shine my heart…
@ Musa W. Dube

Responsive Prayer:

Like the little girl at the point of death,
Many of us are dying in the HIV/AIDS context.

Talitha cum,
children let us rise from death.

Parents/All adults:

Like Jairus, we are coming to you Jesus, we are calling you
We fall before you, we beg you repeatedly.
Come to our homes and save our dying children.
Walk with us in our fear and grief.
Save our children from disease and death.


God our friend, you understand and you listen to us.
Many of us are dying due to peer pressure.
Many of us are exposed to drugs and alcohol abuse.
Many of us are dying due to early and inappropriate sex.
We are dying because we disregard our parents, guardians and teachers.
Help us to hear your voice calling us to life.


Talitha cum!
Children, arise from death, for Jesus is calling you.


Help us to see you standing by our beds of sickness and death
Help us to feel your power of life when you touch our hands
Help us hear your voice when you call us from death to life
Help us to rise from death to life.


Help us Lord,
Help us to call
Talitha Cum to all dying children
We pray and ask this in Jesus name.

Suggested Symbols/objects/ideas:
Tell an African folktale about children or proverbs; a poster of a hatching egg, play Sibongile Khumalo’s “Little girl when the time comes,” from Ancient Evenings album, tell the story of Nkosi, the child HIV/AIDS activist from South Africa, you can have some children recite Mark 9:37 and Mark 10:14 or use whatever idea and symbols that may be appropriate to your context and audience.
By Musa W. Dube

Sermon Text: Matthews 2: 1-13.

Opening Prayer/Poem:

Soweto sprawls beneath the stars
While Herod sleeps
Although they’re late, the hours he keeps
In curfew’d caution
And, warned in dreams of other roads
I never told him
That I found the Infant Christ ...
Black arms enfold Him.
What black? What notion?
The dust had settled, satin-soft
On dongas, quilted
Above the little shoe-box house
The Star had halted. ...

(Extracted from the poem titled, “The Black Madonna” by Maria Mackay OP, published in the journal
Grace and Truth no. 1, 1993, p.38 and 39.)


(an appropriate song on children. God’s love for children and their welfare may be sung)


We live in a world where danger encircles children from the day they are born. HIV/AIDS is a case in point as many children are born HIV positive. In times past, African people were very much awake to the dangers of infection and disease that threatened newly born babies. Consequently they went to great lengths to ensure that the infant was protected. For example an infant was not allowed out of the house of birth for weeks if not months after birth. When eventually the infant comes out of the house, there would be ritual and ceremony designed to protect the child further. It is interesting to note that God went to great lengths to ensure that the child Jesus was protected and kept from harm. How much trouble do we take to ensure that our newly borns are kept from harm? What are governments in Africa doing to reduce the infant mortality rates? What are they doing to prevent mother to child HIV transmission? What are men and women who are sexually active doing to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS to newly born babies? How far do we go in protecting children and keeping them from harm? The recent and chilling spate of infant rapes by men who believe this to be a cure for AIDS has once again highlighted the vulnerability of infant children to HIV/AIDS.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read from Matthew 2:1-13

The news of the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, was not received well by Herod. In fact the news caught him unawares. It was when the Magi came looking for the child that Herod learnt of the birth. He takes immediate action and enlists the services of the Magi to help him trace the whereabouts of the child, in the pretense that he too wished to worship him. Ordinarily the birth of a child should bring joy. But the birth of this child disturbed Herod and all of Jerusalem, we are told. Basically Herod and the inhabitants of Jerusalem saw the child Jesus as a threat to their power and positions. But God will not take chances with the safety of this child. First, God intervenes by visiting the Magi in a dream advising them to return to their country by another route so as to avoid sharing the information of the child’s whereabouts with Herod. Secondly, God intervened more decisively in yet another dream to Joseph saying: “get up, take the child and its mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you ...” It is these two decisive and timeouts interventions, which ensure that the infant Jesus lives to see another day. Had God not intervened decisively and on time, Herod might have succeeded in bring a premature end to Jesus’ life. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that both the Magi and Joseph cooperate when God advises them to change routes and to escape respectively. Are we prepared to change our ways - i.e. to come back by a different route -even if we may have to trod unfamiliar and inconvenient alternative routes for the sake of keeping our children from harm? Would we move ourselves from familiar territories and move elsewhere for the sake of our children? It seems to me that this is what the HIV/AIDS epidemic demands of us: first that we align ourselves and cooperate with God’s vision and love for children and that we be prepared to try alternative routes from the tried and trusted ones with which we are familiar.

2. We Apply the Word of God

· That infants are a most vulnerable group
· From the passage we learn that infants are dependant on parents and adults for protection
· That God intervened decisively in order to protect the infant Jesus
· We also note the manner in which the adults in the life of Jesus at that time, cooperated with God’s vision and love for children
· The HIV/AIDS pandemic requires extra efforts from parents and adults in protecting children from harm


· We confess widespread and gross neglect of infant children in our societies
· We confess the refusal of adults and children to engage in extra and unfamiliar efforts for the sake of keeping infants from harm
· We confess the widespread and growing abuse of infants
· We confess that due to adult, parental, societal and governmental neglect many children are needlessly born HIV positive


· For the gift of childbirth and of infants
· For the millions of parents and adults who care enough for infants that they are willing to try routes and territories other than the familiar.
· That God has given us enough clues as to how we should treat infants during our own times.


· For a world in which infants matter
· For world in which extra-ordinary measures will be taken in order to keep infants from harm
· For societies and parents who will intervene and do so timorously in order to save infants
· For a world in which no infant will be born HIV positive.

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· Sorrow for the horrendous and untold suffering meted out to infant children
· Ashamed that we do not always do enough to keep children from danger
· Inspired by the example of parents and adults in Matthew 2 who cooperated with God in order to save the life of the child Jesus.


· We can become better parents
· We can become a society that is more caring for children
· We can become a society in which no child is born HIV positive

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

The HIV/AIDS scourge places an extra challenge on us insofar as protecting children is concerned. The HI virus is not content with mowing down young men and women at their prime. It also attacks the newly born babies - ensuring that they do not live long enough to see their teens. HIV/AIDS is the new Herod that seeks to smother and extinguish the promise that infants hold. It is the new ‘conspiracy’ designed to end the lives of human beings at the infant stage. It behaves us to do all in our power to protect this most vulnerable and innocent group of victims of the HI virus. Governments, parents, community organizations, churches and societies at large should leave no stone unturned in the search for practices that will keep children from this particular danger.

Prayer of Commitment:

Lord we commit ourselves to seeking alternative lifestyle routes that will ensure that innocent infants do not become victims of the HI virus. We commit ourselves to cooperate with God who loves children. Help us oh Lord to become parents who are worthy and adults who act responsibly towards vulnerable infants. In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.


Cradle, cot.

Texto Sugerido: Lucas 18: 15-17


Na cultura africana, as crianças não devem ficar onde os adultos se encontram. Faz-se isso para evitar que se transformem em mentirosas ou incómodas pelo barrulho que podem fazer. O que é negativo é que esse afastamento acaba por afectar as relações entre pais e filhos. As crianças crescem sem nenhuma orientação e acabam aprendendo sobre a vida por pessoas não indicadas. Os pais não rezam com so seus filhos nem os levam à igreja para serem abençoadas.Procedendo dessa maneira, como é que podem receber e ajudar crianças infectadas e afectadas pelo HIV/SIDA? As igrejas tentam integrá-las em muitos programas e preparam-nas para o futuro.Todavia, muitas vezes essa preparação é feita por outras crianças. Isso não seria contestado se antes fossem bem treinadas para o efeito. Como muitas vezes isso não acontece, são poucas as que participam activamente e acabam por abandonar. Jesus critica essa atitude dizendo que os adultos devem deixar as crianças irem ter com Ele, porque é deles o Reino dos Céus. Hoje em dia, as crianças estão em perigo. Crescem sem amor, sem nessecidades básicas, são infectadas, raptadas, violadas, a sua situação é deveras crítica. Precisamos de protegê-las, de conhecer e de aplicar os seus direitos. Precisamos de escutar e seguir o que o texto diz. Uma criança bem instruída e orientada é garantia de vida harmoniosa e de paz.

1. Vamos escutar a Palavra de Deus

Leia o texto. Sublinhe com um lápis as palavras mais importantes.

· Que tal como acontecia com os discípulos, a sociedade não tem acesso aos seus dirigentes porque aqueles que estão perto deles, criam dificuldades. Figuras públicas acabam ficando impopulares.
· Que Jesus não gosta que alguém seja impedido (a) de ir ter com Ele.
· Jesus realça que o Reino de Deus é para toda gente.


· Que muitas vezes não temos interesse pelas crianças, não lhes proporciamos a devida atenção.
· Que as excluímos em muitas actividades nas nossas igrejas.
· Que não ajudamos as nossas crianças a saber escolher o que é bom para elas
· Que usamos as crianças para resolver os nossos problemas económicos

2. Palavra de Deus para a sociedade

O texto fala de discriminação baseada no género e na idade.Alguns textos da Bíblia relatam acontecimentos em que havendo necessidade de conhecer o número de pessoas presentes, as mulheres e as crianças não são contadas ( Ex.Mt 14.21). Mulheres e crianças são tidas como objectos. Fazem parte da propriedade dos homens.Isso é uma discriminação, é uma opressão. A atidude de Jesus ensina-nos que no Reino de Deus, todos tem lugar e são importantes.Jesus quer crianças ao pé de si , porque são muito activas. As crianças fazem muitas perguntas, querem saber tudo.Os adultos calam-se. Como vão conhecer a vontade de Deus? Como vão aprender novas coisas e modificar o mundo? Jesus conclui dizendo que quem não for como uma criança, não vai entrar no Reino de Deus.


Escolher uma que fala de crianças


Glória e louvor sejam dados ao nosso Deus.Senhor, tu que és Um Deus que ama, que liberta, que consola, que perdoa. Estamos aqui para pedir a tua orientação. Precisamos que nos ensines a escutar o grito daqueles que choram, daqueles que lutam pela igualdade de direitos, daqueles que se batem por um mundo melhor. Senhor, faça de nós instrumentos da tua paz, hoje e para sempe. Amen.

: Uma fotografia com crianças a brincar, ou a nadar, ou a comer, ou a chorar, etc.
Por: Felicidade N. Cherinda

2. Services on the Boy-child
Sermon Text: Genesis 39: 1-10


Integrity comes from the fear of the Lord and the fear of the Lord is learned from God’s faithfulness. The life of Joseph in Egypt demonstrates this for us. It is a challenge to the adventures of youth especially in the age of HIV/AIDS and sugar mummies. The Psalmist asks, “How can a young man keep his ways pure?” The response is, “By living according to your word” (Psa. 119:9). In spite of his misfortunes which turned out to be God’s appointments, Joseph proved faithful to God and to his convictions.

This story is about many things. It is about powerful women and weak boys, mistresses and servants, and the vulnerability of house servants as sex objects whether they are girls or boys. Many children are being sexually abused for ritual or cleansing purposes. In the process many children have contracted HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Sexual relationships need to be mutual and appropriate in terms of age, power relations, and mental maturity.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

(Put the following questions to the passage)

· Who bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites?
· What caused Joseph to be trusted?
· What happened to the wealth of Potiphar on account of Joseph?
· What did Potiphar’s wife say to Joseph?
· How did Joseph respond? Why?
· How does this story illustrate the vulnerability of house servants?
· What myths about manhood does this story go against?

2. We Apply God’s Word to Ourselves and the congregation

· That men of integrity say, “NO” to improper sex
· That temptation happens
· That there is always a way of escape (Read 1 Cor. 10:13)
· To run from temptation is not to be a coward
· Innocent suffering is possible in an evil world, but it needs to be remembered that in all things God works for good. (Read Rom. 8:28)
· Women too can use their social and economic power to abuse boys or servants.

Consider also the following questions:

· How did Joseph maintain his integrity?
· How did Joseph influence his circumstances and how did his circumstances influence him?
· What remained constant in his response to his circumstances?
· What can we learn from Joseph in the way he dealt with his circumstances?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9:10)


· Abuse of social power against the weak and vulnerable
· Exposing the young to various dangers and diseases
· That some family relations fail to sexuality satisfying partners


· Good moral training and upbringing
· Acts of wisdom, courage, and integrity.


· Children in vulnerable positions
· Those who abuse children
· Servants and immigrant workers in vulnerable positions.


· Anger against abusers
· Compassion for the abused
· Admiration for those who resist temptation by showing integrity


· We can become sensitive and vigilant to the plight of the children, youth, servants and immigrants in our communities.


· Work for children’s rights and legal frameworks for their protection.
· Educate husbands on their sexual responsibilities to their wives
· Provide safe centers for victims to report and be protected.
· Alert the community to the problem of child, servants and immigrants abuse
· Promote sexual responsibility in church and society.

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation/Society

· Can you identity similar scenarios taking place in our communities between masters/ mistresses and servants, between doctors and patients, between teachers and pupils, between bosses and junior workers?
· What are you doing about children’s exposure to pornography in your community?
· What are you doing about the myth of ritual cleansing for HIV/AIDS by using virgins?
· What is your congregation doing about sex in the media and commerce?
· Discuss some of the sexual myths related to men or women.


“When Upon Life Billows or Count your blessings”


There are many dangers on my life’s pathway,
Send your light to enable me recognize the danger.
Give me courage to face those I cannot avoid,
And wisdom to see the way of escape and use it.
Through Him who overcame temptation,
Though tried in every way
He emerged without sin
Even Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

Suggested Objects/symbols/ideas:
HIV/AIDS ribbon, cross, white cloth, colour red for danger, etc.
 By Augustine C. Musopule
ii. The Boy Child
Sermon Text: Proverbs 4:1-23


In many societies, the birth of a baby boy is characterized by much celebration, while that of a baby girl is muted (the speaker may cite local practices). In most African societies, the boy child is highly prized as he is believed to ensure the survival of the lineage. Patriarchal values are also transmitted to the boy child through socialization.

It remains crucial for the boy child to receive gender sensitive training from an early age. In HIV/AIDS contexts, the myth of male sexual conquest should be actively undermined. Furthermore, the boy child should be taught to play his part in providing care to the infected and affected. Emphasis should also be placed on the need for faithfulness in relationships.

1. We listen to the Word of God

It is important that parents and guardians set aside time to impart words of wisdom to children. The text provides useful ethical guidelines for a young man. It calls upon him to value instructions if he is to have a long life. This acquisition of knowledge is particularly important in the light of HIV/AIDS. Young men and women require accurate information, alongside useful religious instructions.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Parents and guardians need to impart knowledge to their children
· The boy child should be weaned from dangerous patriarchal values
· Accurate knowledge and wisdom is crucial in the fight against HIV/AIDS
· The boy child must be socialized to care, do house work and to value women.


· Not finding time to teach children
· Imparting dangerous values to the boy child in HIV/AIDS contexts
· Passing on patriarchal values to the boy-child.


· That God should empower us to bring up the boy child responsibly.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

Get young men to stage a play where a young man gets distorted information and values about sexuality from his peers. Show the consequences. Then challenge the congregation to do its part

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

The image of a young man as a sexual predator is quite dominant in African societies. In addition, child rape, pornography and other vices have left young people vulnerable to HIV infection. Leaders at the different levels of society should act responsibly so that the boy child becomes an asset to society. The church should undertake to be advocate for children’s rights.


Any local chorus that is child-friendly.


God of Wisdom,
We pray for our young men
That you may grant them discerning minds;
That they may hold on to your word;
That they may grow to express their sexuality responsibly.
Let our young men seek life-saving knowledge.
Let them grow to respect women.
Let them shun wicked and stifling systems.
Let them take care of the sick and lonely.
Accord them wisdom to protect the poor.
Nurture them to detest discrimination in all its forms.
Guide them to avoid the snare of drugs and the abuse of alcohol.
Mould them in the palm of your hand;
Pattern their lives after Jesus Christ.
Let them be truly humble and loving and responsible citizen
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Suggested objects:
Painting of a young man attending to a sick person.

3. Services on the Girl-Child
Sermon Text: 2 Samuel 13


We are gathered together to affirm the humanity of the girl child. We celebrate the fact that the girl child was created in the image of God and is loved by God. We claim responsibility to protect the girl child and give her the opportunity to grow without fear of being abused by anyone. We pray for a safe environment that is created by all for the safety of the girl child. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Song: Tswana

Tsholela Moya wa hau Jesu//(Pour your Spirit on us Jesus)
Tsholela Moya wa hau Jesu//Pour your Spirit on us Jesus
Dipilong rona Jesus//(Into our hearts, oh Jesus)
Tsholela Moya wa hau Jesus// (Pour your Spirit on us, Jesus)

A popular Southern African Chorus


In general, cases of child abuse have increased in many parts of Africa in recent years, especially sexual abuse. The worst part of it is that there are more cases of infant abuse. This high rate can be linked to the myth that when an HIV positive person sleeps with a virgin, they get cured from the virus. Unfortunately, not enough is being done to crash this rumor. Child abuse is also on the increase because people concerned have taken a position of silence. Both men and women know that children are being sexually abused but for one reason or another keep quite about it. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of breaking the silence.

The process of curbing child abuse involves everyone: parents, other members of the family, teachers, doctors and nurses, the police, social workers, the legal system and the church.

1. We listen to the Word of God

(We read the Word of God 2 Samuel 13. The leader or a member of the congregation can read the story. This story can also be dramatized).


The characters of the story are as follows:

Tamar is the main character in the story. She is the daughter of King David and Maacah of Geshur. She is a full sister of Absolom and half sister of Amnon. She is the object of Amnon’s lust. She willingly goes to take care of a sick brother. Out of trust she accepts to prepare a meal for his brother in his quarters. When she saw that she was in danger, she tried to reason with his brother by telling him that rape is wrong according to their faith and culture. She is even willing to offer an alternative, marriage between sister and brother through negotiations with their father King David. Despite her resistance, she is raped, because he does not listen to her. She is thrown out. She did not keep quiet about it. She wept loudly, put ashes on her head and tore the nice clothes that symbolised her virginity. By her actions, she let the whole of the king’s compound know that she had been raped. Her whole future was ruined on that day because we are told; she spent the rest of her life as a lonely person in Absolom’s home.
Ø Amnon was the first born son of King David and Ahinoam. Amnon was the most likely person to become the next king of Israel. He lusted after his sister, Tamar to the point of plotting to rape her. With the help of a friend, he succeeded to rape his sister. Immediately, he developed hatred for his sister and threw her out of his house. Two years later, his brother Absolom killed him for raping Tamar.
Ø Jonadab was a cousin and close friend of Amnon. He was a bad influence on Amnon because he is the one who planned the raping of his other cousin, Tamar. He believed that a son of a king should not be denied whatever he wanted, even if it is at the expense of another person’s life. He did not care as to what would happen to his cousin, Tamar, thereafter. All he wanted was for his close friend to manifest that he had the power to get whatever he wanted.
Ø King David was the king of Israel. He was also a family man, the father of Amnon, Absolom, Tamar and the uncle of Jonadab. In this story, David is a father who is unable to come to the defence of his daughter; Tamar after his other son raped her. We are told that when he heard the story he was furious but did nothing.
Ø Absalom was the third born son of King David. He took his sister into his house to stay with him after she was raped. He told his sister not to take the abuse seriously because her brother did it. However, two years later he revenged the rape of Tamar by killing Amnon. He also named his daughter after Tamar.
2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves

· That Tamar was a girl of integrity. She protested violence against women. Her major crime was that she was born a beautiful woman.
· Sometimes women and girl children are not safe from rape even in a God fearing home and among people that are supposed to be trusted.
· Rape is not induced only by what a woman is wearing or the place where she is or the class that she belongs. It can happen to any woman and child at any time and anywhere – including safety in their homes.
· The character of Amnon teaches us that rapists are found in all classes and races.
· Jonadab teaches us what Paul said in 1 Cor. 15: 33 that ‘bad company corrupts good character’.
· The silence of David reminds us of the saying that the men who rape women and children are a few but those who are silent about it are many. It is the silence that motivates the perpetrators to continue the abuse.
· The initial silence of Absalom by not confronting Amnon, Jonadab and King David tells us that justice delayed is justice denied. His revenge indicates that the whole family was wounded and needed healing.


· We have not created a safe environment for our daughters even in our homes
· We have kept silent even when we know the rape of some girl children that we live with or we know
· We have delayed to act on a rape case for fear of exposing another loved one or to protect our own financial venerability at the expense of our girl children
· We have not preached against rape or violence against women
· We have exposed many children to HIV/AIDS by not taking the raped child to the hospital where they can give the child drugs to prevent the virus from entering the DNA of a rape victim.


· Jesus heals traumatized girl children who have been raped
· Even the perpetrators of rape can confess their sins and be forgiven by God even though they may suffer the consequences of their actions
· The many NGOs and church related organizations who are blowing the whistle on rapist
· The new laws in some countries that have been set up to protect girl children from rape


· The many girl children who are still being raped, so that by the grace of God someone will come to their defense and come out from the situation of rape
· The many women who are having marital problems because of their childhood rape experience, that they will go out to seek for inner healing
· Rapist to come to the realization that what they are doing is wrong and stop it
· A communal effort to combat rape
· Severe sentences for rapist to deter the would be rapists
· More facilities to be made available to counsel rape victims and perpetrators
· Availability of drugs in all hospitals to prevent HIV infection in rape victims.

3. We apply the Word to the congregation


· Bad that rape cases are found even in Christian homes
· Sorry for the girls and women whose future is ruined because of a rape experience, especially through HIV infection as a result of rape
· Ashamed for keeping quiet when rape was happening even with our knowledge
· Anger toward the rapists, but also compassion when they seek help.


· A community that girls can trust and confide in
· A healing community for victims and perpetrators


· Preach against violence against children and women. We need to break the chains of silence
· Provide shelter for victims of rape. Let us begin by creating an atmosphere of trust so that the victims can have the courage to talk about it. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. Let the compassion of Jesus come out in us to provide care for those who are victims
· We also need to declare a zero tolerance Zone for any form of sexual abuse
· We need to be open enough to accommodate the perpetrators of abuse Confronting them alone will not solve the problem but also leading them to deliverance. We know Jesus as the one who delivers us from all forms of evil
· We need to give back to people the sense of integrity and a purpose for life
· Dispel the myth that having sex with a virgin cures people from HIV
· Set up strong counseling services in church.

4. We apply the Word of God to the society

The problem of rape and all kinds of abuse are a result of a sick society that has not connected themselves to the authority of God. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, sin entered the world. All kinds of evil began to manifest. Abuse is one kind of those evils. We thank God for Jesus Christ who came to redeem humanity from evil. Therefore all those who repent of all their sins and accept the Lordship of Jesus become new creatures. The old life of evil is taken away from them and a new nature is created in them. The new nature in Jesus needs to be natured on a daily basis so that one does not loose focus and manifest things of the fresh. It is in Christ that men and women develop a relationship of respect and trust. This is where one finds true love that protects the other from all that is harmful. In Christ we show that we love God by the way we treat others. A person who abuses another has lost a sense of dignity and integrity.

Prayer: (All)

We thank you God because you identify with the oppressed. You were there when Tamar was raped and you identify with all the girls and women who identify with Tamar’s experience.

Thank you for requesting us abused women and children to surrender to you our painful experience so that you can cover us with your healing hands.

Thank you for exchanging our painful experience with your free gift of love that will make us new a creation.

Thank you God because you are the healer of those of us in here who identify with Amnon, Jonadab, King David and Absalom families torn by sexual abuse. Thank you for calling us to genuine repentance that leads to the forgiveness of sins. We ask for willpower not to do it again but to completely turn around and start a new life of building healthy relationships with women and girls in our homes and community.

We declare Jesus as the healer of our families and communities from the spirit of abusing each other and deliberately infecting each other with HIV. Amen.


Ukuhlabelela, kuyamthokozisa//(To sing makes the one)
Odabukileyo hlabelela// (who is downcast happy)
Sithi: Bonga, bonga bonga…//(We say: thank you…)
Njenge ‘nyoni endle//(like a bird in the veld)

Ziyayibon’ Inkosi//(All the angels thank the Lord)
Zibong’umusa wayo//(Thank God for mercy)
A Popular South African Chorus


May the healing power of God surround you all the days of your life. May you pass on the power of healing to your home and community. May others experience the healing power of God through your actions and presence.

: Play games that show trust; hanging people who need healing from abuse or as abusers; water to wash hands as a symbol of new life. Pictures of water, mountains that portray healing power of God and musical instruments.

By Isabel Apawo Phiri

Sermon Text: Judges 11


Lord we thank you for the gift of children, especially girl children. In this service we ask you to enable us to focus on them. Through this service we appeal to you to remind us that children are not our possessions in the sense that we possess other things. We thank you for the joy they bring into our lives. So we lift children up and commit them to you love and care even as we pray that you will make us worthy adults and parents. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


(An appropriate song focusing either on children in general or on girl children in particular, may be sung.)


It is an open secret that alongside the elderly, children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Governments and societies treat often children alike as if they were dispensable. The forcible and illegal use of children in many of the senseless wars in Africa is a case in point. While there has strong movements in defense of the rights of Blacks, women and to some extent the elderly, there has been no sustained movement for child rights equal or comparable to say, the feminist movement, in sophistication and articulation. This too is sign of the extent to which children remain vulnerable. It is especially the girl children who are at the bottom of the pile. It is girl children who are the main target of child sex rings and cross border trafficking in women and children. There are many other, less dramatic ways in which girl children continue to receive the shorter end of the stick. In many cultures, the manner in which girls and boys are socialized means that girls are groomed to become servants. This has direct bearing on HIV/AIDS incidence among girl children. Powerless and at the mercy of men, girl children have no choice when it comes to matters sexual.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read Judges 11

To understand this strange sounding passage, it is important to read the eleventh chapter of the book of Judges from the beginning. Effectively, Jephthah was a mercenary who reward was headship. Under siege and humiliating and repeated attacks by the Ammonites, the leaderless and kingless Israelites appeal to Jephthah, whose skill and strength as warrior was well-known, for help. “What is in it for me?” Was the first question that Jephthah asked them? “You will become our head and leader” This answer worked like magic. Not only did the elders play on Jephthah’s ambitions for political office, but they also happened to know his sorry and sad background and sought to cash in on his deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and his deep longing for acceptance. He was after all the son of a sex worker born out of wedlock and chased away from his home by his father’s legitimate children. He was therefore not only ambitious but he also bore the emotional and psychological scars of derision and rejection for being the illegitimate son of a sex worker. When the very people who use to taunt him approach him for help, he cannot but think that at long last he may find genuine acceptance and belonging to his father’s people.

Such is the depth of the scars in his soul and such is his ambition for political office that he makes a rush and poorly thought out wager with God. "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” Such was his ambition for political office and his sense of personal inadequacy that he made this thoughtless pledge to God. Knowing fully well that he had only one child, a girl child, he might have guessed that either his wife or daughter or both would come and meet him if he returned in triumph from war.

In pursuit of his ambition and in an attempt to resolve his psychological problems, Jephthah renders his wife and daughter dispensable. On his way from and to glory, he brings about the death of his own daughter. She dies in order to keep the honour of her father and in order that his father’s ambition might be fulfilled. She dies because her father has unresolved psychological problems. She dies so her father may become leader of Gilead for six years. How many girl children are HIV positive because a father and an uncle has sought to use them either in his way to or from perceived glory? How many girl children orphaned by HIV/AIDS have fallen foul to the unbridled ambitions of relatives who step in to claim and control their deceased parents’ assets?

 2. We Apply the Word of God and to ourselves


· That children, especially girl children are often treated as cogs in the machine of men’s and society’s political and economic ambitions
· That children are often treated as if they were dispensable
· That children are often the victims of unresolved psychological and political problems of their parents and of the societies in which they live
· As the most vulnerable group, girl children often bear the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic either as they contract the disease by being forced to have sex or as they have to care for siblings after the death of their parents.


· That we render our children dispensable
· That society often makes children secondary to and servants of society’s ambitions
· That girl children continue to be the most vulnerable members of society
· That we have neglected concerted church action in defense of girl children


· For the gift of girl children
· For parents and societies which care about and for children
· For the resilience of girl children and their amazing community roles in HIV/AIDS ravaged communities.


· For girl children in Africa and all over the world
· For girl children affected or infected with HIV/AIDS
· For girl children taking care of parents dying of HIV/AIDS
· For girl children caring for siblings and grandparents after the death of their own parents.

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· We should feel remorse at the manner in which society treats girl children
· We should feel hopeful for those girl children who are caring for either dying parents or siblings after the death of parents.


· We can become parents to orphaned girl children
· We can make the church become a home for abused and orphaned girl children.

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

The plight of girl children is a serious one in our times. They who ought to be our last defense against the deadly plague of HIV/AIDS are nevertheless rendered the most vulnerable to it and other menaces of our times. Whereas the plight of child soldiers in some African wars has been highlighted, what happens to girl children in those situations has seldom been mentioned. Churches must arise and do something to save and defend the girl child.

Prayer of Commitment:

The girl child is made of your image and likeness. Her body is your temple of your Holy Spirit. Help us to remember and to act the rights of a girl child. Amen.


Thuma Mina

Symbols/Objects and Commitments:
Beads, dolls, clothes.
By Tinyiko S. Maluleke
4. Services for Youth
i. Youth Service

Sermons Text: Ecclesiastes 11: 7 – 12: 1- 8


Statistical evidence tell us that youths between the ages 15-29 are the most vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Most of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa who are infected by the virus fall within this age bracket. It is therefore difficult to be a young African. The innocence of youth has been taken away by this deadly disease. Growing up today in the era of HIV/AIDS is dangerous. It is very unsafe to be a young African because the probability of being yet another victim, being “a statistic” is very high.

African youths used to undergo traditional rituals such as female and male initiation schools, where they were taught about human sexuality. These institutions are no longer there. Many of them live under poverty, and often find themselves being lured by people with money for casual sex. It is the youths, especially girls who are sexually abused by older men ‘to cleanse’ themselves from HIV/AIDS. So the service needs to take on board these realities.

1. We listen to the word of God

· These words are an admonition to both the young and the old on how to live.
· The preacher reminds us that we all die at some point, and when we die we shall be judged by whatever we did whilst living.
· A few things to note are that young people should enjoy their youths, what does this mean?
· They should remember their creator, we should know that we shall grow old and weak, and we shall die and return to the dust of the earth.

2. We apply the word of God to ourselves and the congregation

Churches have an obligation to create the right environment for young people to enjoy their faith, their membership to the church and to enjoy their youth. Over the years the church has made it difficult for youths to experience freedom and joy in the church. The church also has the responsibility to advocate for the rights of youths. This requires that church leaders should be knowledgeable about the different conventions and charters that enshrine the rights of youths. Among these is the African charter for children.


Admonition is something that is very rare in many communities these days. HIV/AIDS has ravaged the social fabric of African societies and as a result the extended family system has been terribly weakened. However, we have to find other systems through which we can help the young people to ‘remember the Creator in their youth,’ and to avoid the pitfalls that lie in the way.

We also have to help our young people to find the right ways to ‘enjoy their youths’. Many young people use drugs, abuse alcohol and are involved with gangsters as a way of ‘having fun’. This is not what the preacher is advocating for when he says ‘enjoy your youth’. It is important that whatever the youths do, or whoever for that matter, they are also admonitioned to remember their creator as well.

We need to confess that:

· The Church has over the years not given the youths space to exercise their faith in Christ
· The church does not provide youth friendly services, such as education on Adolescent reproductive health, recreational activities and open ‘spaces’ to get the youth agenda going
· The failure of the church to provide mentoring, admonition and guidance to youths.


· Although the statistics of HIV/AIDS are horrifying, it is important to remember that more than 70% of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa are HIV negative. We should celebrate this and seek to raise that figure
· We thank God for youth leaders and activists who are involved in youth activities that are about combating HIV/AIDS
· We rejoice in what the churches are doing to enable their youths to explore their faith freely, and to enjoy their youth.


“An audacious dream”

I dream of a world where the youth are free
Free to play with each other without fear
Free to touch, tickle and to embrace,
Free to be themselves and be respected for that.

I dream of a world where the young blossom
Where potential is harnessed and realized,
Where people’s efforts are rewarded
And where one can fly to reach the sky

Where I am not the church of tomorrow
Where I am permitted to sing my own tune
Where I am belong in my own right

I dream of a world without HIV/AIDS
I dream of a kaleidoscope of African youths
Who sing a song of praise and not shed tears
I dream of life in fullness and no more death.


Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And the righteousness

Then all these things will be

Given unto you

Alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia, alleluia

Ask and it shall be given to you

Seek and you shall find

Knock and the door shall be

Opened unto you

Alleluia, alleluia

Man does not live by bread alone

But by every bread

That proceeds from mouth of God

Alleluia, alleluia

Suggested objects/symbols/ideas:
Use newspaper cuttings on and put them in a collage to show some of the things/experiences that are happening to young people in the community.
By Moiseraele P. Dibeela

Sermon Text: 1 Samuel: 2:2-17


The role of parents has become increasingly difficult in our changing society. The cohesiveness of the traditional extended family is now falling apart in Botswana and other parts of Africa. In fact a recent workshop questioned the definition of the family as many feel that it is not so easy to define anymore and changes all the time. In the past, the whole village did the parenting of child. The parents, uncles and aunts, the neighbors, teachers, traditional leaders and community leaders like church ministers, each had a role to play. Urbanization broke this concept of parenting. With Botswana having the highest rate of HIV /AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of orphans rises daily. The load of parenting has become overwhelming in every family. Western influences have also had an impact on the lives of both parents and children. This brings in attitudes like individualism and materialism, which make people, care less about the other. The cultural gap between the children and parents is also growing which gives rise to more conflict and misunderstandings. This again could be contributed to external influences.

1. We listen to the word


The text introduces us to two families, Hannah’s family and Eli’s family. Samuel, Hannah’s son who on the one hand faithfully performed his tasks under Eli and grew in spiritual stature developed a relationship with God that grew in power and intimacy. Then on the other hand there are the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinenas. These two seemed to drift away further and further from God and the teachings with which they were brought up.

There are two important lessons for me in reading this story. The first important one is to take responsibility as a parent by ‘handing over’ one’s child to God. Hannah believed that God gave Samuel to her and therefore she needed to hand back that child to God. This means handing over our children through prayer, baptism, Sunday school, and confirmation class and youth fellowship. Through these the child could be nurtured in the body of Christ to grow spiritually.

The second lesson, for me, is that often we as parents do not make time to actually raise the children and teach them right from wrong. Eli might have been so busy in doing his work as priest that he failed as a parent to teach his children about the God that he so faithfully served. His sons therefore saw what Eli did more as mere rituals than a true relationship with God. His children did not learn from Eli the meaning of sacrifice, devotion and service unto God. It could also be that they’re developed a cultural gap between Eli and his sons, as they grew older. This resulted into them not appreciating their father’s relationship with God. Eli too was seen to have failed in his role as parent as ‘he did not restrain them’ 1 Sam. 3: 13 and therefore brought punishment on his household.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That we need to bring our children up in God’s household
· That we need to pray for our children.


· That we are most of the times weak in correcting and restraining our children for the wrongs that they do
· That we do not bring our children to God in prayer and in God’s household
· That the children are abused within our families
· That we have not done enough to protect children from HIV/AIDS.


· For the many children who, like Samuel, grow spiritually and intimately in their relationship with God
· For the families who provide that protection, time and discipline into bringing their children up to fear God
· For many children who are not infected by HIV/AIDS.


· For single mothers who struggle to raise their children without support from fathers
· For the disintegrating family life through which children have no role models and guidance
· For the many children out living on the street, those who are abused from a young age, those children who are in prisons, orphans who have nobody to take care of them
· For child- headed homes, who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS?

3. We apply the Word of God to our church/society


· Conduct parenting courses through to help parents to improve their relationships with their children
· Set up youth groups and children’s groups to help children understand their contribution to the family and God’s teachings
· Improve Sunday school and youth programmes to be relevant to the family and the problems experiences in families
· Provide support groups for parents who find parenting difficult
· Train and encourage families to adopt and care for the orphans
· For youth to start homework help for orphans.

(the leader may choose any appropriate song)


God our mother and father,
You graciously look upon us and take care of us.
You cloth us, feed us, guide us with truth and wisdom.

We bring to your altar all parents. We often
do not have all that it takes to raise our children.
We pray that you might help us to fulfil our role
with the love and discipline it deserves.
Make us stronger, wiser, more loving, in Jesus name.

Suggested Symbols/ideas:
Drawings of huts, families.

By Cheryl Dibeela

Suggested Passage: Matthew 15:21-28

Opening Prayer of Thanksgiving

Leader 1:
Father and Mother God,
We thank you as single parents, especially as single mothers.
We thank you, for you are the Father and Mother of our families.

We thank you, for the stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.

Leader 2:
We thank you for Ishmael, Hagar’s child,
Who became the ancestor of a great nation.
We thank, for you are the Father and Mother of single mothers’ children.

We thank you, for the stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.

Leader 3:
We thank you for Obed, the child of Ruth,
Who became the great ancestor of David.
We thank you for you are the Father and Mother of child-headed homes.

We thank you, for the stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.

Leader 4:
We thank you for Solomon, the child of Bathsheba,
Who became a great king of wisdom.

We thank you that the stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.

Leader 5:
We thank you for Jesus, the child of Mary,
Who became the savior of the world.

We thank you, for the stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.


In many societies and cultures, single parenting is increasingly becoming common for various reasons. Urban-rural migration, labor migration, political and economic upheavals, globalization, unemployment and HIV/AIDS are among many other factors that increasingly put pressure on the family, particularly the marriage institution. Often mothers and grandmothers, by virtue of their gendered roles as nurturers, carry the burdens of raising children alone. Nonetheless, single mothers and their parents still suffer discrimination from their communities and churches. It is important for the church leaders to see single parenting as part of our reality, our societies, our world and our churches and to offer a ministry that affirms single parents and their children.

Towards this end, the above prayer highlights that in salvation history God does not discriminate any child, in fact God blesses the rejected stone. In the reading that follows, the struggle of single parents is brought to the fore and the need for the church to hear their cries and to support them in underlined. While almost all parents are particularly living with uncertainty for their children, the situation of single parents is even worse in the HIV/AIDS era. For example, how does a single parent earn a living if one of her children is sick and needs home-based care or if s/he is sick herself? Yet HIV/AIDS has also brought forth new types of families to the fore: child-headed households, the grandmother-headed households and the single father.

1. We listen to the Word of God

Reading the text: Matthew 15:21-28

Verses 21:

Ø The setting of the story is provided, stating the geographical place of the story.

Verse 22:

Ø A new character is introduced. She is a Canaanite woman. Note that she comes to Jesus seeking help alone, unaccompanied. Given the culture of that time, this strongly suggests that she was a single parent.

Ø Highlight that she comes to Jesus in desperation: she starts off shouting, calling for help on behalf of her severely possessed daughter. Underline that she asks for mercy: “have mercy on me.” She desperately appeals to Jesus.

Verse 23:

Ø Note that both Jesus and the disciples do not respond to the woman’s call for help. “Jesus did not answer her at all” and the disciples said “send her away.”

Ø Note that the woman was following them shouting for help behind them. Put the question to the congregation if we sometimes ignore single parents who desperately need our help.

Verse 24:

Ø Jesus gives a reason for his silence: his ministry is exclusively for the Israelites. He cannot attend to the needs of Canaanite child. It is an ethnic-based response. Do we sometimes discriminate on the basis of ethnicity?

Verse 25:

Ø Note that the woman disregards their resistance. She insists. She comes forward and kneels before Jesus and states her plea, “Lord, help me.”

Verse 26:

Ø Jesus finally speaks to her, stating the reasons for his silence. He does not think that Israelite children’s bread should be thrown to the dogs (Canaanite children).

Ø Note the differentiation, some are children, others are dogs. Who are the dogs and who are the children in your context, church, family and community?

Ø Highlight how Jesus speaks of healing as children’s bread. What is the link between food and health?

Verse 27:

Ø Underline that the woman still persists, searching for help for her sick child. She assures Jesus that she does not seek to deny Israelites children of the bread, nonetheless other children also need bread; they need healing. She thus asks for crumbs. Jesus grants it to her on the basis of her persistent faith.

Ø Underline that we need to persistently insist for the needs of all children.

Ø Of note here is the woman’s persistence and Jesus’ willingness to reconsider his initial position, when confronted by another truth—namely, all children are children. All children deserve health and bread.

2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That all children deserve bread on the table
· That many single parents are seeking our help
· To be persistent parents in search for our children’s health
· That we can share the bread of our children with children of single parents.


· Prayer of confession
· We confess that we have not always listened to the cries of single parents
· We have not always seen all children as equal
· We confess that we still refer to children from different ethnic groups and single parents as dogs and deny them the space at the table and bread
· We confess that our discriminatory look on single mothers and their children means that they become more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Help us to hear their cries and to welcome them at our table fellowship. Amen


· That many single mothers are committed to the wellbeing of their children
· That Jesus is not afraid to change his mind about a Canaanite child
· That Jesus is brought to share bread of healing with all children.


· That all children, should be treated equally
· That single mothers should be heard and their needs met in the society
· That our churches should become parenting churches.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· An inclusive church to single parents and grandmothers
· A welcoming church to children of single parents and of all ethnic groups
· A prophetic church on the rights of single parents and their children.


· Set up an services that highlight our support for single parents
· Run workshops on single parenting
· Start a programmatic response for child and grandmother headed households.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

While the society may neglect the needs of single parents, or look down upon them, the Christian church must challenge itself to listen to them and to walk with them. With the HIV/AIDS era the burden of single parents calls a church to become a parenting church. In particular, the emergence of new types of families: the child and the grandmother headed homes underlines the need for the church to develop a ministry of parenting with single parents. It also calls for a church that undertakes advocacy for single parents and their children.

Song: (
Choose an appropriate song)

Closing Prayer:

Creator God, in a world of broken families and societies
In a world of immense labor immigration and displaced people
In a world of economic and political upheavals
In a world of globalization and diseases, especially HIV/AIDS
Many are raising children as single parents

Loving and caring God, we thank you for you love for all children
We thank you for to the single mothers, for you are the Father to their children
And to single fathers, you are the Mother to their children
To the grandparents and child headed household, you are the Father and Mother God to the/ir orphaned children. Amen.

Zimbabwean/Kenyan stone abstract carvings, indicating unity; Mary with Jesus/Mother with child poster; Proverbs: It takes a village to raise a child; mmangwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng (a mother holds a knife by its cutting edge).
Sermon Text: Genesis 19:1-11


In this service oh Lord, we wish to commend men before you. We live in a world where masculinity has become abused and distorted. In many parts of the world men are socialized to believe in force and domination. In many cultures men are brought up to suppress and disown their feelings. African men are no exception. We implore you to journey with us as we explore alternative ways of being men. We pray that you will give us the resources to become men of God and to bring our sons up as such. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


(An appropriate song on manhood or cooperation between men and women may be sung)


There is a crisis of masculinity. There is a crisis of what it means to be a man. The symptoms of this crisis are to be seen in the predominant images of masculinity in our cultures. In many cultures, men are brought up to be and treated as chiefs to be pampered, to rule and to command. In various ways men are taught and socialized into believing in force and power over. The HIV/AIDS crisis has brought matters to a head. If men continue to dominate and coerce and to believe that that is what it means to be men, then HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns will come to naught. For in these contexts women have no right and possibility of control for their choices and their bodies. Although seldom remarked, the truth is that women are the worst victims of the many violent wars going on in the world. The raping of women is an old and contemporary weapon of war.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read from Genesis 19:1-11

There has been much unwarranted controversy - especially on the subject of homosexuality - based on this passage. For some it is a passage that proves that homosexuality is wrong. Yet others argue that if anything, this story points to widespread practice of homosexuality. Lot is shocked not by the fact and nature of the demand of the men who are banging at the door, but by its violent intentions directed at guests and strangers, some would say. Lot displays no shock at the intended homosexual nature of the sex being demanded as such. Others point out that this is really a story of rape - threatened rape - first and foremost. I concur. Secondly it is a story of violence, masculine violence. Hence the pathetic but spine-chilling offer of Lot: “I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them.” At this stage it becomes clear that this is a story of men at war among and between themselves - a war in which women can be thoughtlessly used as ransom and as forms of comfort. This then is a shameful story of perverse manhood flirting - as usual - with violence as a means of communication, relationship and self-assertion. It is a story about men seeking to assert power over other men and doing so in complete disregard to the welfare of women - indeed using women in the process. It is the story of a sick manly contest between Lot and his neighbors - which must have antecedents before the arrival of the two guests. This is the story of manhood gone mad in its sickly pursuit for power and dominance. To come to our own context it is important for us to note that HIV/AIDS thrives on violence and distorted notions of masculinity.

2. We Apply the Word of God and to ourselves


· That there is a link between distorted notions of masculinity and violence
· There is a link between rape and violence, indeed that rape is not about sex but about violence
· That women are often victims in the battles of men for power and control
· That there is a link between the distorted notions of masculinity, violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS


· We confess that our societies, in various ways, continue to socialize men for power and dominance
· We confess that distorted notions of masculinity make victims out of women and put the world constantly on the road to self-destruction


· We can be thankful for some men who are already seeking alternative ways of being men, relating with other men and relating with women
· We can be thankful that though Jesus Christ came as a man he nevertheless related to both men and women in life affirming rather than violent ways.


· We pray for the conversion of men from violence to love
· We pray for the conversion of relations between men and men so that masculinity is redefined in terms of love rather than power over others.
· We pray for the conversion of relations between men and women so that they may relate as self-respecting equals without need to resort to violence and coercion.
· We pray that our churches may become schools and factories for these kinds of men

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· As men we should feel remorse at the centrality of violence and coercion in the manner in which we relate to one another and to women
· We should feel sad that society continues to socialize men and women for violent and unequal relationships


· We can be inspired by the example of Jesus in the manner in which he conducted his manhood and in the manner in which he related both to men and women.


· We should propose concrete ways in which our churches can focus on the training and retraining of men from violence to mutuality and respect for others
· We should explain the link between rape and violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

Men must be taught different and new ways of being men. This cannot be left to Hollywood and growing militarization. We have to find ways in which men can be taught and re-taught love and relationship. If this is not done, we have little chance of stemming the tide of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Prayer of Commitment: (ask one individual to make a prayer)

: (choose any appropriate song)

Symbols/Objects/ideas and Commitments:
A doll, A child, a heart etc.

ii. Men and the use of Power
Sermon Text: Mark 9:33-36


It is difficult to talk about power in patriarchal Africa without talking about masculinity. Masculinity throughout the ages has been and still is equated with power, physical power, and emotional power, power of authority, power to lead and to make decisions. This is evident within all spheres of life, politics, the home and sadly so in the Church too. This masculine power almost always exerts supremacy that is negative, yet it is always encouraged by society as a positive attribute. Some of the negative examples including sexual harassment perpetrators at work are men. This abuse of power is also found in child abuse, domestic violence and rape. This very domineering form and abuse of power that has contributed to the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Decision-making on sexual issues is left to men, whether or not he wants to use condoms. This has implications for the care-giving role as well as such characteristics needed to fulfill the responsibility of career are not associated with male authority.

Women, on the other hand, especially those fortunate enough to occupy leadership positions within society are often encouraged to adopt these male characteristics. If they don’t then they are viewed as ‘weak/emotional’. These characteristics in society are referred to as negative attributes. They are seen to lack confidence and assertiveness. Women and men are socialized by society to accept the dominance of men. This has led to women not being seen as capable to lead, make decisions and accept positions of power when men are around. These are all factors that affect women negatively with HIV/AIDS as they are most of the times not decision-makers within sexual relationships.

1. We listen to the word of God


It is ironic that this question of greatness/power had to be posed by male disciples. In spite of what Jesus taught about servant hood, his disciples were still preoccupied with such irrelevancies of power. Commentators believe that the disciples’ failure and lack of understanding typify the patterns of successive generations, who persist in setting their minds on such human things. This is true and visible even amongst women’s conversations and livelihood today although it is still dominant amongst men. The disciples were equally caught up with their own questions of greatness and slow to understand what Jesus stood for.

Jesus once again being the revolutionary character that he is sets new categories of ‘greatness’. He uses a child, the most marginalized member in our society, the most humble and sometimes the most ignored as having the lowest social status. Jesus in using the example of a child, also proposes alternatives of power: Power to care, love, and embrace those who are different. Jesus, a male person, could have easily rested in the comfort that all men experienced at the time, but he did not. We are challenged, just as Jesus brought his disciples to a stand still ‘and he sat down and called the twelve’ (v. 35). This, to me, seems to be an indication that he regarded this as an important issue not to just ignore. We ought to bring life to a stand still as males and females to set new standards of power especially in this HIV/AIDS context. We need Christ’s standards of overturning the norm.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves.


· That our concept of power is not Jesus’ concept of
· Power of humility and lowliness.
· That there are more important things in life than power of status, control etc.
· That Christian power is the power to love and care.


· That we often strive towards power for importance and dominance
· That a lot of hurt is caused through abuse of power
· That as men we have not used our power to prevent HIV/AIDS
· That as men we have failed to care and nurse those who have AIDS.


· For Jesus’ example
· For the homes, work places and churches in which power is shared and not abused
· For many people who humbly take care of those who need it
· For the opportunity to emulate Jesus.


· That those who abuse power might experience a time of reflection
· That men and women together accept servant-hood
· That the HIV/AIDS era, men should use their power to love and care for their wives and children and protect them from infection.

3. We apply the Word of God to our church/society


· Teach on aspects of gender and how power has an influence
· Teach boys and girls from an early age about Jesus’ concept of power
· Teach men and women about HIV/AIDS and power in the society
· Discuss on how men can make a difference in the HIV/AIDS struggle

(The following prayer could be used during this service)

God who is the greatest among us?

Not the man that has only revenge in mind just to kill and to maim. But the one whoever receives a child in my name receives me.

God who is the greatest among us?

Not the man who makes and obeys laws which reduce others to a lower status than themselves. But whoever receives a child in my name receives me.

God who is the greatest among us?

Not the man who believes that power is about control and domination. But whoever receives a child in my name receives me.

God, who is the greatest among us?

Not the man that rules his household with violence and instill only fear. But whoever receives a child in my name receives me.

God, who is the greatest among us? Not the man who uses power to dominate and exploit women and children sexually and spread HIV/AIDS.

Make us like little children, Oh God, humble and compassionate; able to love and embrace without prejudice; able to take care and protect without expecting any reward or favor; able to forgive as you have taught us to do. Amen.

Suggested Symbols/ideas:
Male Condoms, Bishops mitar, Slogans such as ‘Real men don’t rape – Real men practice safer sex’, money notes, titles such as Manager, Director etc.

7. Services on/by/for Women
Sermon Text: Proverbs 31:10-31


The status of women in contemporary African societies has generated a lot of debate. Some activists maintain that women are oppressed by patriarchy, while others consider gender equity a foreign ideology. However, it is clear that married women are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. Thus, what it means to be a virtuous woman requires radical interpretation in the light of the number of women infected by their husbands.

Despite being at the receiving end of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, women have done a sterling job in providing care. Many wives have nursed their husbands, sons, daughters and relatives often neglecting their own health. It is important that a new theology that does not offer women as sacrificial victims be developed. In the era of HIV/AIDS, married women need to be empowered to protect themselves. They are made on God’s image. They should not surrender their lives in order to be deemed good wives. Factors such as culture and religion, lack of education and economic dependence have increased the vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS. This oppressive structures need to be revisited and marriage needs to be reconceptualized as partnership.

1. We listen to the Word of God

The passage is a celebration of the good wife. It highlights the value of married women, outlining their centrality to the well-being of the household. Through devotion to her husband and accomplishing her chores, the good wife is an asset to her family and society. Being far more precious than jewels, a good wife appears to be measured by the amount of work that she accomplishes than for her intrinsic value. It is important that this text be re-read because of its patriarchal influences.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Married women play a key role in their families
· Cultural factors may force women to sacrifice themselves
· Numerous tasks undertaken by housewives are often ignored
· House-wives are exhausted, they need help from their husbands.


· Exposing married women to HIV
· Refusing to recognize work done by women
· Abandoning care of those affected by HIV/AIDS to women
· That as men and husbands we often neglect housework.


· Women provide care for the infected
· Mothers continue to work for their families amidst poverty, pain and oppression
· Most wives have remained faithful despite their husband’s promiscuity
· That men can make a difference in the spread of HIV/AIDS through faithfulness.


· Husbands should be sensitive and appreciate their wives
· Family members especially men should participate in giving care in situations of HIV/AIDS
· Wives should be empowered to protect themselves against HIV infection.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

· Let married women in the congregation discuss the following questions:
· Do they feel that their husbands and families appreciate their efforts?
· What should their families do to improve the situation?
· Do they get support when they provide care in HIV/AIDS contexts?
· Do husbands participate in the many chores of their homes?

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

Society needs to overhaul its theory that women are long-suffers. Despite progress that has been made in raising awareness of gender issues in Africa, married women continue to suffocate, particularly in this era of HIV/AIDS. Cultural, religious, economic and other factors that increase the vulnerability of women should be overcome. The church must take a lead to empower women for we were all created in God’s image.


Vana Mai
Tiri masoja
Tiri masoja aMwari
Kana Satani akauya
Tinomudhuura nebhaibheri

Dear mothers
We are soldiers of heaven
We are God’s soldiers
If the devil (disease, pain, etc.) comes
We will shoot it with the bible
(Popular chorus by women)

Prayer of confession by men:

God Almighty
We thank you for the gift of women
We praise you for their industry, tenderness and care
We give you glory, God most high!
Forgive us, Lord, when we exploit women labor and love
Forgive the times when we selfishly expose them to diseases.
Forgive us, Lord, when we take them for granted.
Strengthen us to acknowledge their humanity.
Help us to banish gender inequalities and violence.
We have gone wrong, gone astray.
By trivializing the status of women;
By not counting women’s activities as valuable work;
By leaving all care for the sick to women;
By leaving all housework to our wives.
Living God, hear our prayers,
Through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Poem: Daughters of Ethiopia

Groaning in faith
Rejoicing in hope
Effaced from official statistics
Written in the Book of Life

Feeding the hungry
Comforting the lonely
Nursing the sick
Loving the outcasts

Victims of patriarchy and vicious systems
Bearing eloquent scars of torture
Used and discarded
Brutalized and squeezed

Your spirit is unbroken
The Spirit urges you on
Daughters of Ethiopia
We salute your courage and tenacity
May the Lord of Justice and Mercy
Reward your efforts a hundred fold!

Reject choking systems
Overthrow stifling ideologies
Embrace liberation
Cherish freedom
Daughters of faith

Suggested objects
: Carving of mother with child at the back, carrying firewood; white cloth; water, pictures of working women and men sitting under the tree etc.
By Ezra Chitando
ii. WOMEN’S SERVICE (It can also be used for widows service)
Sermon Text:
Ruth 1-2

: Women of God, why are you here?

: We gather in the name of the Creator God as women of God who want to transform this world to one where there is justice for all. We call upon the Spirit of God to give us courage to effect the necessary change and to unite us so that we speak with one voice. We pledge each other to work in solidarity to achieve our goal.

Greeting Song:

Inu anzathu // (Our Friends)
Sitinadziwe kuti tidzaonana// (We did not know that we will meet)
Moni Mulungu adalitse// (Greetings, God bless you)

Inu anzathu// (Our friends)
Moni// (Greetings) (Repeat 3x)
Mulungu adalitse// (God bless you)
Malawian Community Song


The position of women in the church and society varies from one church to another and from one culture to another. The dominant belief is that women are inferior to men and women must always submit. Women are also denied leadership on the basis that a woman cannot lead men, but other women and children. It is for these reasons that women are treated like perpetual minors. The dangerous part is that women themselves have internalized their oppression and accepted it as coming from God. Therefore, in some cases, women oppress other women and oppose the women who seek the liberation of other women.

In spite of this, the existence of Churchwomen organizations in Africa is a symbol of solidarity among women. These organizations need to transform so that they can become women’s mouthpiece on women’s issues in the church and society. This is particularly urgent in this era of HIV/AIDS. The subordination of women to men puts women at high risk for HIV because; women do not have the power/right to negotiate for safer sex. Some of the issues that put women in the HIV/AIDS high risk category include: lack of education, economic dependence, cultural and religious teachings.

1. We listen to the Word of God

· Naomi, Ruth and Opah were widows. Ruth and Naomi formed a partnership for survival without the help of a man. They were proactive.

· They made a journey from Moab to Bethlehem. It was a strategic journey for economic empowerment. Naomi had heard that the famine was over in Bethlehem. They returned at the time of harvesting wheat, the staple food of those people.

· By God’s providence, Ruth worked in the field of Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s husband. Boaz showed kindness to Ruth because Ruth had been kind to Naomi. Ruth is warned to remain in Boaz’ field for fear of being abused by workers from other fields.

· Ruth, encouraged by Naomi, initiated marriage to Boaz. They used patriarchal methods to actively change their situation. They subverted the system. Was Naomi using Ruth for her own ends? No because Naomi told Ruth to go back and Ruth followed out of her free will. This is an example that women can be in solidarity with each other. Their solidarity was for survival. The age gap between them was not a barrier.

2. We apply the Word to ourselves


· The majority of widows live in economic hardships in patriarchal societies
· That powerless people can change their situation if they work together
· When people are in economic desperation, they can end up in prostitution or being a trickster, not because they are inherently evil, but because of circumstances
· Widows are also in danger of being sexually harassed by men since they do not have male protection, thereby are at risk of being infected by HIV
· The strategy that Ruth used for economic survival could have lead Ruth to death if Boaz was HIV positive.
· It is difficult for older widows to remarry as widowers tend to want to marry virgins not widows
· We realize that Boaz respond respectively to the needs of Ruth.


· Have we given support to widows?
· Has the church taken a prophetic stand towards the dispossession of HIV/AIDS widows?
· Have we protected widows from sexual harassment?
· Have we empowered the women church groups to be supportive of the liberation of women?
· Have we given women space to be empowered economically, socially, sexually, theologically and economically?
· Have we promoted friendship and solidarity among women?


· That woman can survive after the death of their husbands and sons.
· God is on the side of widows
· The church is commanded by God to take care of widows
· Surviving male relatives can behave responsibility.


· Neglected dispossessed and psychologically harassed widows who are not being looked after by anyone
· Church to look after widows
· Churchwomen groups to take seriously the issue of helping widows.
· God to give us courage to deal with women issues in the church
· God to continue to strengthen women as they look after their sick husbands and children, especially in the time of HIV/AIDS
· Encourage dying spouses to write their wills.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation


· Repentant for not taking care of widows and for not supporting women’s cause for solidarity in the church
· Encouraged by the formation of widows associations and women’s groups that seek change for themselves


· A supportive community to the needs of widows and women groups


· Sponsoring widows for income generating projects
· Promoting the formation of widows associations in our churches so that we create space for widows to encourage each other
· Show interest in the well-being of widows and their children
· Actively oppose cultural practices that hinder the remarriage of widows
· Actively oppose cultural practices that deny widows from inheriting their husbands’ property
· Actively oppose government rules that make widows as perpetual minors to their sons
· Promote the writing of wills for all church members so as to protect women from relatives that grab property after the death of husbands.

4. Conclusion: Word on the society

There are many women in our societies who are going through similar situations like Naomi and Ruth. Women take care of their husbands who have AIDS until they die. But when they get sick, there is no one to take care of them. Sometimes when the woman is the first to get sick from AIDS, the husband send her back to her people to take care of her. In the case of the husbands getting sick first, the wife is there for him up to the end. Such practices need to be challenged so that both husband and wife take care of each other both in sickness and in health.
The church needs to campaign for the legal protection of widows, especially over the issues of inheritance laws. There is need for change of laws even in the church about widows. The churches need to revisit their views about single mothers, widows and remarriage.


Jehova, Jehova Atamandike//(Jehovah, Jehovah, should be praised)
Palipenso wina Mulungu//(There is no other God)
Ndimodzi yekha Jehova//(There is One Jehovah) repeat chorus

Iye ndiye Alepha//(He/she is Alpha)
Iye ndiye Omega//(He/she is Omega)
Oyamba ndi otsiliza//(The beginning and the end)
Palibenso wina Mulungu//(There is no other God)
Ndimodzi yekha, Jehova//(There is one Jehovah)
Repeat chorus)
A Malawian Community Song.

Lord we thank you because you are a faithful friend, a friend who sticks closer than a relative.

Lord we thank you for a Christian community. Thank you for your call that we should take care of our widows. We accept our responsibility, Lord.

We commit the widows to you. Our prayer for them is that they may feel your presence in their lives and learn to lean on you as they walk through the journey of life. Help them to know that you are the husband of the widows and the father of the fatherless

We accept to change our church and cultural laws that have contributed to the abuse of widows. Have mercy on us Lord and give us the courage to transform our communities to make them widow and women friendly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Testimonies from widows, film from Zimbabwe on inheritance, scented candles, black dress, a bundle of wheat, musical instruments etc. i. SERVICE FOR WIDOWS
Sermon Text: Luke 18:1-8


In the HIV/AIDS era, the plight and proliferation of widows has come to the fore. Married women lose husbands and become widows. In some African cultures they are expected to choose another husband within the siblings of their husbands. In other cases they are dispossessed of both their property and children. Sometimes they are accused of witchcraft, of having killed their husbands/partners or having infected them with HIV/AIDS. Sometimes they are left poor by the disease itself, but also because they may be without work, skills or property so they turn to sex work to survive. In many cultures they are subjugated to severe rituals of cleansing, since their bodies are held to be unclean. Most of the above experiences are not helpful in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and provision of quality care. Further, their experiences are closely linked to gender inequalities that characterize most marriages, property ownership, stereotypes on origins of evil and stigmatization of women’s bodies as unclean.

The Bible, both in Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, has highlights the situation of widows or several occasions (Tamar, Ruth, Naomi and Opah). The prophets also highlight the plight of the widows, depicting God as taking their side. Similarly, in the New Testament Jesus makes several references to widows. Some examples include raising up the son of a widow from death; the widow who gave the best and the widow who followed the judge repeatedly, searching for justice. The latter constitutes the focus of this sermon, as the preacher/Bible study leader seeks to bring the congregation and society to be more sensitive to the plight and situation of widows in the HIV/AIDS era. This service seeks highlight the plight of widows; to hear their needs in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, provision of care, mitigation of impact, legal and spiritual guidance.

Bring a widow to tell their story of struggle and survival.

1. We listen to the Word of God

Reading of the Word (Luke 18:1-8)

Verse 1-2:

Ø The story is told to illustrate persistent prayer which does not give up and persistent action. The second verse both setting (in a certain city) of the story and one of the characters (the judge) are introduced.

Ø Note that the setting is neutral, thus lending itself to universal application. That is, it was in a certain city—it could be any city: your city and my city where such characters are found. The preacher/Bible study leader should thus ask the congregation/participants if such characters exist in their city/ies.

Ø Note that verse two explicates the character of the judge: “he neither feared God nor had respect for people.” This is telling. How will he serve people or God if he has no respect for both?

Verse 3:

Ø The setting is re-iterated and another character of the story is introduced: “in that city there was a widow.” First, define a widow culturally, economically and spiritually. Second, put it to the congregation/participants if widows exist in their city/cities and if such widows are also seeking justice.

Ø The situation of the widow brings her to this judge, who respects no one. Note that she “kept coming to the judge,” this denotes persistence, but it may also denote desperation. It also underlines the negligence of the judge.

Ø “Grant me justice against my opponent” says the persistent widow to the judge. Why was she seeking justice? What kind of justice was seeking? Who was her opponent? The text does not say. However, she was a widow. As a preacher/bible study leader highlight the various injustices that confront many widows and their many opponents. For example, this widow may have been dispossessed of her husband’s property, her home, her children. The widow may have been accused of witchcraft and driven out of her home. Her opponents may very well be the relatives of her husband, her neighbors, culture and the legal system that does not protect her.

Verse 4-5:

Ø Highlight that the judge who has no fear for God or respect for people, ignores her. Public leaders and workers, who are serving people can hardly serve if they do not fear God or respect people.

Ø Ask the congregation/participants if such civil servants exist in the church and in their country. Ask if they can be described in such terms, if they have ever had such attitude and how it affected those who seek help from them.

Ø The persistence of the desperate widow, however, gets to the judge. He grants her justice, but for wrong reasons, “so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” He serves her not because he believes she deserves justice, but to get rid of her.

Verses 6-7:

Ø Jesus now gives his interpretation and opinion on such a judge.

Ø Verse 6 Jesus says, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.” Two points are notable here. Fist, Jesus says, “Listen” the verb calls our attention denoting emphasis, surprise, disgust and protest. Second, Jesus calls him “the unjust judge.” Why is this unacceptable and unjust? This is stated in verse seven.

Ø In verse seven, Jesus asks “And will not God grant justice to the chosen ones who cry to God day and night?” This is a rhetorical question that clearly expects a positive answer. That is, yes, God will grant justice to widows and to all who cry to God day and night! Several points should be highlighted by the preacher/Bible study leader from this verse. First, the fact that Jesus expressed himself in a question is notable. It is emphasis. The fact that Jesus refers to God as a God who grants justice. God is a fair judge, a God of justice. Underline the fact that Jesus counts this widow among the chosen ones who call upon God day and night.

Ø Emphasis that the poor, the underprivileged, the marginalized, the oppressed, including widows—are God’s chosen one. God listens to their search for justice.

Ø “Will God delay long in helping them?” Jesus asks, thus underlining that it was and it is still unacceptable for all those who are on power to deny or to delay justice to widows and all the marginalized. The point is clear here: justice delayed, is justice denied!

Verse 8:

Ø “I tell you, God will quickly grant justice to them!” Jesus says. God is a just God, a fair judge, a judge who delivers justice in time and to all those who need it, especially the widows and all other marginalized people. God’s justice is timely—it is quickly delivered. The preacher/Bible study leader must underline that this means that God does not allow oppression or expect the church to be tolerant it.

Ø Underline that the justice of God, to widows and all the oppressed, God’s attentiveness and service to them means that in all our cities, we do not have any right to deny the rights of widows. They must be quickly met.

Ø In sum, the preacher/Bible study leader must bring it to the attention of the congregation/participants that this passage is comparative. It compares the just God and the unjust judge. In so doing, it seeks to underline with no uncertain terms that if God is a just God, who acts promptly, then none of us and no city of the world should wait too long before it grants widows and all other oppressed people, who cry to God day and night, their justice. Second, the meaning of the points of this story must be grasped in the tone of the story.

2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That we fail God whenever we entertain oppression
· That justice delayed is justice denied
· That God cares for the marginalized and expects us to care
· That in many cities there are desperate widows and powerful people who neglects their duties.


· That many times we have played the unjust judge
· We have not listened to the cries of our widows
· We have not set up services to meet the needs of widows
· We have not been advocates for the needs of widows.


· For a God who cares, listens and who is just to all widows
· For the families that have protected their widows
· For assertive and persistent widows, who seek their justice
· For children who have supported their widowed mothers
· For NGOs that work with and for the needs of widows.


· For the protection of vulnerable widows
· For a church, government and NGOs that are supportive
· For promotion of cultures that protects widows.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· Compassion for widows.


· A listening church and society
· A justice granting church to widows and all the marginalized.


· Set up legal and counseling services for dispossessed widows
· Set up day care centers for HIV/AIDS positive widows
· Carry out home-based care for sick and bedded widows
· Work with NGOs that serve widows
· Assume public advocacy for unjustly treated widows
· Fight gender injustice which denies widows their rights.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

While groups such as children, PLWAs, grandmothers, women are identified for how they are affected by HIV/AIDS, it is rare to find services that target the needs of widows. One sometimes gets the feeling that perhaps it is expected that if one’s husband dies of HIV/AIDS then perhaps the wife will quickly follow. This need not be the case. This silence can also reflect the cultural position of the widows as powerless people. It is imperative for the church to highlight their situation in the society and to champion their rights.

Suggested Song/Poem:

Night has Fallen (In
Thuma Mina, Hymn 208)
(Or any hymn of your choice)

Closing Prayer:
Like Ruth, let us pray and pledge our full support to all widows:

“Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you
Where you go, I will go, where you lodge, I will lodge,
Your people shall be my people and your God my God
Where you die, I will die and there I will be buried
May the Lord do thus and so to me
And more as well until death parts us.” Amen. (Ruth 1: 16-17).

Suggested Symbols/Ideas:
A picture of a widow, a story of a widow, black clothes, or any other symbols that captures mourning within your particular context and church background etc.
By Musa W. Dube
Texto sugerido: Ruth 1: 1-22


Em África existem muitas mulheres. Entre elas encontramos vários grupos: Mães solteiras, abandonadas, divorciadas, viúvas,etc.Este grupo de senhoras vive marginalizado.São vistas como imorais, feiticeiras, ladras dos maridos das outras, propagadoras do HIV/SIDA. A Bíblia fala-nos de três mulheres pobres tanto em bens materiais como em relações humanas. Ao contrário daquilo que muitas vezes acontece, essas mulheres uniram-se na luta pela sobrevivência e pelo direito à vida e à família.
Naomi, é um exemplo raro de uma sogra que ama as suas noras e deseja-lhes o bem. As duas noras são também exemplo raro de dedicação às pessoas de idade avançada.
O HIV/SIDA é uma doença que desafia os lares para uma união efectiva e duradoira.

1. Escutemos a Palavra de Deus

Leia o texto. Sublinhe com um lápis as palavras mais importantes.

VV 1-2:

Ø Falam da fome e de como ela provoca deslocação de famílias à busca de melhor sorte.

VV. 3-5:

Ø Mostram como desgraças sucessivas abateram aquela família. Mostram também o seu desgosto provocado pela falta de descendência.

VV. 6-14:

Ø Relatam-nos o quanto as tres mulheres se amavam mas que apesar disso tinham que se separar.Finalmente uma delas decidiu regressar à casa da sua mãe.

VV. 15-18:

Ø São uma verdadeira escola de amor e de fé.

VV. 19-22:

Ø Falam-nos do regresso de Naomi com a sua nora à Belém e de como foram recebidas.

2. A Palavra de Deus para nós


· Que a fome criou e continua a criar deslocação de pessoas e animais de um lado para o outro.
· Que a morte de ente queridos, muitas vezes cria problemas difíceis de ultrapassar.
· O texto deixa bem claro que só o amor entre as pessoas enlutadas pode ajudar a encontrar soluções para os problemas que se levantam.
· Na era do HIV/SIDA as famílias devem unir-se para ajudar uns aos outros.


· Que nos nossos lares não há harmonia principalmente entre sogras e noras
· Que apesar de sermos crentes, temos dificuldade de aceitar a morte de pessoas que amamos.
· Que muitas vezes as viúvas são expulsas e arrancadas os seus bens depois da morte dos seus maridos.


· Que Deus nos perdoe pela falta de amor para com os nossos semelhantes.
· Que as mulheres deixem de acusar umas às outras quando surge uma morte.
· Pelo fim de hostilidades que provocam deslocações

3. A Palavra de Deus para a sociedade

· Que sentimentos tiveram depois da leitura do texto?
· que aprenderam sobre relacções humanas?
· Que pensam sobre a atitude de Naomi?
· Que pensam sobre a atitude das suas noras?
· Que faria você numa situação idêntica?


Deus de amor e de compaixão, aproximamo-nos de ti, cheios (as)de pesar, por constantemente ignorar-mos os teus mandamentos cheios de sabedoria. Por actos e palavras pecamos contra ti. Quando as desgraças batem à porta da nossa casa, esquecemos de imediato que nos amas, e começamos com acusações mútuas. Proteja-nos Senhor, do pecado e da morte. Ressuscite em nós, a bondade, a esperança e o amor,em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amen.


Escolhe uma canção que esteja de acordo com o sermão.

Uma fotografia representando uma mulher enlutada, ou um casamento, ou um funeral, etc.
Por: Felicidade N. Cherinda


Suggested Sermon Text: 1 John 4:7-21

Call to Worship:

Leader 1:
You are God the Creator
You created all of us in your image

In your Garden there are many different flowers
And you created all of them good

Leader 2:
You are God the Creator
You created life in wide diversities

In your universe there are billions of shinning stars
And you created all of them good

Leader 3:
You are the Creator God
You created us black, white, yellow, tall, short, men and women

In your world there are many languages and ethnic groups
And you created all of them good

Leader 4:
You are the Creator God
You created us with a range of sexual orientations

We are a beautiful rainbow people
And you created all of us good.


The identity of homosexuality is perhaps one of the most difficult and least understood identities for the African church in general. Many church leaders reject homosexuality outright together with those who carry this identity. As a result homosexuals are rarely out with their status in most African churches and societies. The fact that HIV/AIDS was first discovered amongst the gay community was interpreted by some church leaders as God’s punishment. The reality of the HIV/AIDS, however, has proved otherwise, the infection is now largely through heterosexuals, especially in Africa. Despite the African churches’ rejection of homosexuality, it is certainly a reality amongst African people since some languages have a name for it, indicating that is was always known.

In the HIV/AIDS era the discrimination of homosexuals means they are often deprived services that pertain to prevention and provision of quality care. This discrimination means that some homosexuals are forced to hide their identity, to marry wives and then to live with double sexual life, a secret one and a publicly accepted one. In addition, since homosexuality is not openly talked about in most African societies and churches, emerging research indicates that some youngsters are opting for homosexual sex, believing that one would not get HIV/AIDS from it. In short, the discrimination of homosexuals and the silence that surrounds us does not only expose them to HIV/AIDS infection and lack of quality care, it affects all of us—even heterosexuals, for we are a community.

Does biblical theology give us room to accept and love those who are different from us? Does it call us to welcome strangers—those whom we do not know and understand? It would seem yes. Even those church members who are strongly convinced that their faith allows no room for homosexuality—yet the Bible certainly counsels us strongly against judging and self-righteousness (Luke 6: 41-42; Luke 18:9-14; Matt). It counsels us to love and calls us to inclusive fellowship (Luke 5:29-32; 15:1-2). We are urged to leave all judgment to God (Rom. 12: 19-20). But we do have a role to play; namely, to love our neighbors (John 14: 34-35; Mark 12: 28-34; Matt. 22: 38-40; Rom. 13:8-10). The commandment to love another, another fellow human being was given to the church. Given that our faith and baptism in Christ, makes us one (Gal 3: 26-28), it is underlined that “those who say, “I love God,” and hate their sisters and brothers are lairs; for those who do not love a brother or a sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1John 4:20).


Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Reading the Text:
I John 4:7-21
1. We listen to the Word of God


Verse 7-8:

Ø “Let us love one another,” the writer encourages those who are in the Christian fellowship to share or give love to each other. Note the reasons that the author gives: a. “because love is from God” and b. everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” The act of loving is an attestation that we have the Spirit of God.

Ø Note and underline that verse 8 emphasizes verse 7; namely, “whoever does not love does not know God, for God is Love.” In short, it cannot be that we call ourselves Christians or a people of God if we do not love. The moment we fail to love—regardless of what reason we give—then we have failed to reflect the nature of God. We are ignorant people—we lack the knowledge of who God is.

Ø “God is Love” the text identifies God with love. We express our knowledge and relationship with God, but our capacity to love: to love ourselves, to love our families, neighbors and the strangers—those who are different from us, be it racially, ethnically, gender wise, economically, culturally or by sexual orientation.

Verse 9-10:
Ø God’s love for us was manifested in God’s act of giving of loving us first, before we loved God. Love is about giving; and giving something precious. But all of us were given love by God, “not that we loved God, but God loved us.” It was unconditional. It was a free gift. We know God if we are capable of loving the other, those who are unlike us, those who are different- and being to love them unconditionally.

Verses 11-12:

Ø The author underlines, “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” Those who have received love must give love.

Ø How do we measure that we are a godly people? Verse 12 says, “If we love one another, God lives in us and God’s love is perfected in us.”

Verses 13-15:

Ø God’s Spirit was given to us and we know that God abides in us and we abide in God, through our capacity to love one another.

Ø Further, this Spirit of God enables us to “confess, that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Ø Underline that people in our fellowship, or even those who are outside, should not judged to be ungodly or unchristian because they are different from us. Rather, we should ask if they are capable of loving and confessing Jesus. These are the Christian attestations that the Spirit of God abides in them, that they abide in God and God abides in them.

Verses 16-19:

Ø These verses underline what has been said above; namely, that “God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them.”

Ø Note that the text speaks of fear, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear,” v. 18. Often, fear gets on the way of love, especially when we meet those who are different, those who are not like us—denominationally, nationally, religiously, racially, culturally, ethnically, sexually, genderly and economically. What is different is unknown, hence sometimes brews fear for it threatens our reality with another reality. This response to difference is unfortunate and ungodly, for God is the author of diversity and the author of love. If we know God as the creator of all, then we will not fear difference, but love, for God is love.

Ø The author repeats (and repetition is emphasis in biblical literature); namely, “We love because God first loved us,” v. 19. This was free gift to all of us, we should give it out too.

Verses 20-21:

Ø Highlight and underline to the listeners, that verses 20-21 are not only the summary of what has been said, but perhaps, one of the most beautiful texts of Christian faith—one whose potential is yet to be fully realized.

Ø First, the text empathically says, “Those who say, ‘I love God’” and hate their brothers and sisters are liars. Put it to the congregation, ask them if they hate someone or a certain group of people? Underline that according to this text we cannot reconcile loving God and hating some people. If we hate some people or person, we only delude ourselves if we think we love God, we are ‘liars.’

Ø Second, the text gives a strong reason, “for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

Ø The importance of these verses is in underlining that our Christian spiritually is based on the capacity of being able to live and to relate respectfully with our neighbors and with all people. Peaceful relationships, respect for all, acknowledging the human dignity of all people, seeing the image of God in all people: these are imperatives. These are godly acts. If we are capable of these, then we have a relationship with God, we know God, we love God, we abide in God and God abides in us. The Spirit of God is in us, if we love. Words cannot express what a healed and wonderful world we can have and how many lives would be saved from violence and war, if we knew and practiced just this:
Loving one another!
2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That God is love
· That we are commanded to love one another
· That God loved us unconditionally and still loves us
· That loving God begins with loving those whom we see.


· We do not love all people unconditionally
· We are often hindered to love by judging others and by fear of differences
· Our attitudes towards different sexual identities, genders, ethnic backgrounds, class and age hinder us from loving
· We confess that our lack of love caused many wars, deaths of millions, hindered HIV/AIDS prevention and exposed those that we marginalize, especially homosexuals.


· That God loves and calls us to love unconditionally
· That through faith and baptism, we are one in Christ (Gal. 3:26-28)
· We have the opportunity to repent and to start loving others
· Our fellowship and society has given us opportunity to interact, to know and to appreciate those who are different from us as worthy and God fearing people like us or even better than us (Luke 10:25-37)
· That, as African people, we have witnessed the struggle for black people and for women, who were discriminated for their differences and we have leant from these to resist identity based oppression such as the ethnic and sexual based discrimination
· That God is the creator of diversity.


· For commitment to love and give justice to all people
· For a church that is an example of unconditional love.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· An inclusive and loving community
· A safe home for all people who are rejected by larger society


· Set up support groups for gay people in our churches
· Allow gay people to come out with their status
· Supportively work with NGOs that focus on gay people.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

One of the amazing observations about society is that while God created diversity and created us all in God’s image and God’s likeness, we have hardly embraced and celebrated these differences, nor realized the dignity of each person and of creation as a whole. As people we deem ourselves worthy of rejecting that which God has created and blessed. We fear and we hate the other. Thus wars of hate based of ethnicity, race, gender, nationality and religion have plagued our world. The greatest tragedy, however, is that we have never learnt from these wars of hate to avoid violence, to begin to love and to accept each other. One war follows another. Millions have died and million are still dying. Wars remain in the drawing boards of many leaders—the first and two thirds world alike. People who have themselves been victims of racism, anti-semitism, ethnic cleansing, gender oppression etc. quite easily forget their experiences and struggles for humanity and become oppressors of other groups on the basis of their differences. The discrimination of homosexuals is one such example, one that we need to tackle, particularly in the HIV/AIDS struggle.


“Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder.”

Closing Prayer:

Creator God, we have sinned against your creation
when we discriminate people on the basis of their color, gender, ethnicity,
class, health & sexual orientation. This discrimination has exposed these
groups to HIV/AIDS infection and lack of quality care. We have been
hypocritical, for we have failed to love others, while we claim to love you.

Forgive us Lord and teach us how to love one another.

Exchanging Peace:

Turn to each of your neighbors, hold/fold their hands in your hands, look them in the eye and say, “I love you with the love of God, for I can see in you the glory of God.”

Rainbow drawing, bouquet mixed flowers beautiful arranged; abstract of carving of two figures holding hands, a purple cloth or any other idea or symbol that may be appropriate for your context and audience.

By Musa W. Dube
i. People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
Sermon Text: Jeremiah 17:5-10

Instructions: Get the youth group to dramatize the stigma experienced by PLWHA or get a PLWHA to share his/her experiences. Even better, invite a PLWHA society to church and let them talk about what they do as well as their experiences.


HIV/AIDS has affected sub-Saharan Africa severely. It is the leading cause of death, alongside being an epidemic within other social epidemics. Its impact has been greatest among the most vulnerable groups, such as the poor, displaced persons, prisoners, women and children. Despite progress in research, many PLWHA in Africa do not receive adequate health care due to factors such as accessibility and affordability of drugs, but also due to HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

Although the church has been active in providing care for PLWHA, it has also been responsible for some of the stigma. The tendency to associate HIV/AIDS with promiscuity immorality or to see it as a form of divine judgment has increased stigma. Consequently, the church has not become the alternative space where PLWHA can feel welcome. The church has also not raised its prophetic voice as part of its advocacy work. Access to information, prevention and care is a contemporary challenge and the church should play a meaningful role in this regard.

1. We listen to the Word of God

The passage emphasizes the need to trust in the Lord. As opposed to arrogance and a false sense of self-sufficiency, the church should be a trusting community. Even when HIV/AIDS threatens a sense of the future, the church should remain firm. When the heat of HIV/AIDS and its attendant problems comes, the community of faith should not falter.

Encourage members to debate the meaning of the sentence where God promises to give every person according to their ways, according to his doings. While some have used the sentence as evidence that PLWHA have received what they deserve, indicate that judgement is the sole prerogative of God. Also highlight factors such as rape, parent to child transmission, marital infidelity and others in HIV infection. That is many good people get infected by HIV/AIDS. We cannot simply equate HIV/AIDS to immorality.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· We need to continue trusting in God despite the HIV/AIDS pandemic
· Judgment should be left to God
· PLWHA’s can still lead fulfilling and useful lives.


· Failing to overcome stigma faced by PLWHA’s
· Doubting God’s love in the face of HIV/AIDS
· Failure to make our churches PLWHA friendly.


· Some members of society, particularly women, have provided care for PLWHA.


· The church should play a leading role in fighting discrimination and other factors that fuel HIV infection
· Individuals should actively support PLWHA’s
· The power to refrain from playing God and judging PLWHA’s
· Talking up advocacy against national and international corruption.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

· How often have we sinned by usurping God’s throne and pronouncing judgment on PLWHA?
· What can members do to welcome PLWHA to their places of worship?
· Do members still trust in God, even as they bury loved ones virtually everyday?

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

PLWHA face multiple struggles, and society could help by overcoming stigma. Leaders at the family, church, village, provincial, national and global levels ought to actively support PLWHA. The provision of quality care should also be pursued vigorously. Above all, factors that increase the spread of HIV should be tackled urgently.


“We Have a Miracle Working God” (No. 135 CLG Hymn Book)

Murapi ari pano
Chiremba wekudenga
Auya pasi pano
Kurapa mwoyo yedu
(Community song)


Almighty God, Healer of Healers,
We come before your throne of mercy.
You sent your son and he bore our iniquities.
We pray that your Spirit lighten our hearts.
Touch us in your special way.
Unto us whisper words of healing and comfort.
Into our hearts pour the spirit of trust.
Transform us to become like the tree planted by water.
Lord, we know you have plans for us,
Plans for good and not for evil.
When our bodies hurt.
When our spirits are low.
When our anxieties wear us down.
We pray for endurance and hope.
Dear God, we know you listen to our prayers.
Your Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
Through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Poem: “

Aches, aches, aches
Searing pain
Soaring doubt
Deepening despair

My children!
These little ones, the ones you so love?
Should I leave them now, tender as they are?
Why do you hide your face, God of love?
Lord, let this cup pass!

As I sit alone in silence
A still small voice reassures me
In the Lord I take refuge
For thou art with me
Thy rod and thy staff
They comfort me

More than a conqueror
Heir of the kingdom
Bearer of the promise
I shall trust in you forever.

Suggested objects/symbols/ideas:
Red ribbons over the cross (solidarity); green plants (vitality), PLWHA, T-shirts with reminders, Logo of PLHWA, 2002 World AIDS Day Logo.
By Ezra Chitando

11. Service for Community Leadership

Sermon Text: Nehemiah 1 - 4


Community mobilization and leadership are essential imperative for the Christians to address the problems related to HIV/AIDS in our countries. This involves a passion and concern for the sufferings experienced by people around us. It requires initiative and vision. As community leaders we ought to lead on behalf of God rather than with our own interests. Leadership is not a ‘one-person show’ but it involves cooperate support. This is the kind of leadership that led Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

1. We listen to the Word God


Ø Nehemiah heard of the situation of Jerusalem and what he heard moved him into action. He did not respond because of his official appointment to the palace or because of his connections by birth but rather because he was concerned with the crisis that faced the people in Jerusalem.

Ø Nehemiah’s concern for his comrades in Jerusalem and his grief drove him into a prolonged period of fasting and prayer. Nehemiah wept bitterly over the state of affairs.

Ø Nehemiah involved the cooperation of others in his plans to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Except for his kinsmen and women he also approached the king for support. He encountered a lot of opposition in his plans to rebuild the walls but because of his dependence on God he is able to withstand them.

Ø Nehemiah does thorough inspection of the city walls and carefully formulates a plan of operation. After thorough preparation he is able to spur everybody on into action. In spite of increased opposition Nehemiah’s mobilization and good leadership brings forth victory for the people of Jerusalem.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves.


· That words without action means nothing
· That each of us has a contribution to make towards improving the conditions of HIV/AIDS


· That we never make the first step in providing leadership
· That we are often too comfortable with our own lives (what we eat, our own health etc) and do not get moved into improving the lives of others
· That as the church leaders, community leaders and family leaders we have not sufficiently spoken out concerning HIV/AIDS prevention and care
· That as church leaders we have not taken public leadership to fight stigma and discrimination
· That as men we have not yet made the differences in HIV/AIDS prevention through faithfulness to our partners, abstaining or practicing safer sex.


· For the many community activists who try and make a difference to people living with HIV/AIDS, the orphans due to HIV/AIDS, medical treatment, support groups etc.
· For the leaders in the country that take these issues as important and a big concern
· For PLWHA’s who are out with their HIV status, fighting stigma and discrimination
· HIV/AIDS care givers.


· That we do not separate social action from our Christian commitment and so always ask for God’s continual guidance
· For renewed vision and inspiration in our leadership
· For fighting against death and protecting life.

3. We apply the Word of God to our church/society


· Do research on aspects affecting people so that we might know what kind of needs are in our society.
· Arrange educational talks around HIV/AIDS
· Do training on leadership so as to equip people with the necessary skills.

Suggested idea:

· As leader one could use cartoon characters or drawings to tell the story as it is set out in Nehemiah.
· The broken wall
· Nehemiah’s personal response to the crisis
· Cooperate response
· Personal and Cooperate Prayer
· Nehemiah’s interview with the King
· They face many adversaries
· Nehemiah inspects the city wall
· They rise up and build
· The leader could then follow a participatory approach by letting people draw their own broken walls with regard to HIV/AIDS in their societies. Let the members then talk about these broken walls in groups.
· The following topics could be used for discussions:
· Let people unpack their individual responses to the broken walls, (how do they feel - are they moved at all with emotions by what they see)
· Their cooperate initiatives (what can they do - have they done anything about it so far – do they think they might want to do something about it.
· their prayer response (does God know how they feel about these broken walls, have they confessed and interceded on behalf of the people),
· who would be important to network with (what skills, influences are important for their mission)
· What opposition might they face?
· What action plan could they formulate
· Are they fully equipped to raise up build those broken walls. (where/how/when could they start)

(the leader may choose any appropriate song)


Dear God, our builder, you have all the building materials needed to
Construct our societies. You have all the strength to put wisdom on all that has fallen apart in our lives. You have the wisdom to re shape our world.
Inspire us with all your wisdom, strength, and love, to rebuild the broken walls in our community. Amen.

Suggested objects:
Bricks, cement, tools for building, clothes used for building, pictures of concerns in society.
By Cheryl Dibeela
12. Service for HIV/AIDS Workers

Suggested Reading Matt. 9: 35-38 & John 21:15-18


It is internationally recognized that most HIV/AIDS workers (planners, activists, caregivers, programmers, educators, trainers, advocates, counselors etc.) suffer burn out. There are several reasons for this. First, HIV/AIDS in itself is a huge field, affecting every one and all fields of our lives. One who undertakes this work, will inevitably get more than enough to do—everyday, in all the 365 days of the year! Second, it is an urgent work. It is critical. It is about saving lives, so its workers can hardly distance their bodies, souls and minds from this stressful urgency. Third, it is depressing work in the sense that one comes face to face with suffering, death (especially those who are in home-based care, nurses and doctors) and one can easily lose hope, and the meaning of life.

Fourth, it is almost always the case that there are insufficient workers in all fields of HIV/AIDS. The shortage is partly because it is a relatively new field. It is also because of the stigma—very few people want to identify themselves with HIV/AIDS work. Some still think it is a health issue. Some are just indifferent. Others are ignorant. It is also because while it is largely a voluntary service, it nonetheless demands all your time. The result is that those who have courageously come forward have more than enough. They suffer from burn out. They are often traveling (house to house, around the village, city, nation, internationally etc). They are away from family and unable to take care of their own health. It is important that HIV/AIDS workers should be recognized, to raise their morale, to strengthen them, but also to call for more people to stand and be counted. This service seeks to do just this affirmation and the call for more workers.

Call to Worship:

Leader 1: “How beautiful upon the mountains

HIV/AIDS Workers

Yet many times we are weary and totally exhausted by HIV/AIDS work,
for “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest” (Luke 10:2).


Nkosi Sikelele iAfrica

Prayer by HIV/AIDS Workers:

Loving and caring God, thank you, for you call us to love and serve your people.
You call us to be healing hands in your hurting world.
You send us to compassion, to suffer with those who suffer.
Day and night we labor to comfort your people.
Yet many times we are depressed by the amount of suffering we see.
And many times we are totally exhausted by the amount of work we have to do.
We often neglect our health and families in the HIV/AIDS struggle.
Help us, Lord. Lord, renew our strength. Amen.

@ Thuso Tiego (In the album Thuso, 2002)

Leader 2:
“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
They shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).


U Jesu maka bongwe
// May Jesus be praised 4X

Se hamba naye/
/We walk with Jesus
Si hlala naye
//We sit with Jesus
Si lala naye
// We sleep with Jesus
Sivuka naye
// And wake up with him 2X

U Jesu maka bongwe
// May Jesus be praised 4X

First Reading: Matthew 9:35-38

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”

Second Reading: John 21:15-18

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Leader 3:
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying
Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

Here am I; send me.” (Isa. 6:8)
“Until justice rolls down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24)
Send us Lord.

Testimony 1:
A Home-based caregiver

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our spirits and minds.
Help us to see your face in the face of the sick.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 2:
A Grandmother caring for orphans

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our spirits and minds.
Restore our physical strength and hope, oh Lord.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 3:
A child-headed family

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our hope for the future.
Restore our faith in your unfailing care, guidance and presence.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 4:
HIV/AIDS Counselor or social worker

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our service to your people.
Restore our commitment to comfort your people.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 5:
Health care-givers (nurses & doctors)

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our compassion for your suffering people.
Help us to see your image in each sick and suffering person.

(Leader hands a certificate of appreciation).

Testimony 6:
A village HIV/AIDS educator

The Rest:

Renew us, Lord. Renew our dedication to people.
Restore our communities, fill us with joy and hope.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 7:
A national HIV/AIDS worker

The Rest:

Renew us Lord. Renew our vision for a healed nation.
Restore our nation to its peace, rebuild it broken spirit.

(Leader hands a certificate/taken of appreciation).

Testimony 8:
An International HIV/AIDS activist

The Rest:

Renew us Lord. Renew and heal your creation.
Restore goodness to all members of the earth community.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 9:
HIV/AIDS program person

The Rest:

Renew us Lord. Renew our energy and commitment
Restore our physical, mental and spiritual vigor to be healing hands

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 10:
A PLWA activist

The Rest:

Renew us Lord. Renew our minds, spirits and society.
Restore and re-fill our bodies with your healing touch.

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).

Testimony 11:
A Youth HIV/AIDS activist

The Rest:

Renew us Lord. Renew our love and hope
Fill us again with your Spirit of Power and the Spirit of fire

(Leader hands a certificate/token of appreciation).


U Jesu maka bongwe
// May Jesus be praised 4X

Se hamba naye/
/We walk with Jesus
Si hlala naye
//We sit with Jesus
Si lala naye
// We sleep with Jesus
Sivuka naye
// And wake up with him 2X

U Jesu maka bongwe
// May Jesus be praised 4X

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore, ask the Lord of harvest to send laborers into his harvest.”


Ke tla roma mang? (Whom shall I send?) 3x
Roma mang ko lefatsheng (Shall I send to the world)

Ntate roma nna (Send me Lord) 3x
Roma nna ko lefatsheng (Send me Lord to the world)

Call to serve:

Those who have not been involved in HIV/AIDS work; who wish to start to contribute to both prevention and provision of care are called to stand and come forward.

Prayer of Dedication:

Creator God, in this HIV/AIDS era, the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. We thank you for the few laborers that are carrying heavy burdens. Renew their strength and energy to serve. Here, then are your people, more servants. They have heard you calling, “whom shall I send, who shall go for me?” They have heard you say who shall undertake HIV/AIDS prevention and provision of care to the sick for me?” They have heard you say, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” They have come forward to you. They are saying, “Here we are, send us Lord.”

We dedicate them to you and your care. Creator God, take their hands and feet and send them to every home and corner where they are needed. Take their hearts and minds and fill them with compassionate energy. Take their eyes and ears help them to see pain and to hear the cries of all who suffer as your pain and cry. Anoint them now and fill them with your Holy Spirit, your Spirit of power and fire. We thank you that you have already heard our prayers. Amen.

(Leader gives a pebble to each new person as a reminder for their pledge to God and their dedication to serve in the HIV/AIDS struggle)


Go with the God of compassion.
Go with Emmanuel, the God With us.
Go with the Comforter the Spirit of power and fire.
Go forth to liberate creation from oppression.
Go forth to heal and comfort God’s people. Amen.

Objects Symbols/objects/ideas:
Certificate/token of recognition/appreciation, pebbles or any other appropriate or available symbols.
By Musa W. Dube

Part 5
Services on Social Factors Contributing to HIV/AIDS

1. Poverty & Economic Justice

i. Leviticus 25:8-46 (MPPD)
ii. Luke 16: 19-31 (TSM)

2. Gender Injustice

i. John 20:11-18 (CD)
ii. Joao 20:11-18 (FC)

3. Violence

i. John 8:1-12 (MWD)
ii. Judges 19 (IAP)
iii. 2 Samuel 13:1-22 (FLM)

4. Race & Ethnic Based Discrimination

i. Genesis 21:8-21 (ACM)
ii. Matthew 15:21-28 (CD)

5. Age Based Discrimination

i. Mark 10:13-16: Children (EC)
ii. Genesis 18:1-15:Elderly People (IAP)

6. National Injustice

i. Luke 4:16-22 (EC)

7. International Injustice

i. Exodus 3:1-12 (MPPD)


Sermon Text: Leviticus 25: 8 – 46


This particular text is part of a large narrative called the holiness code, which covers Chapters 17 – 26 of the book of Leviticus. It is generally agreed that this discourse is a literary unit on its own and has been incorporated into the book of Leviticus. The originators of this code were the priestly movement who were interested in ritual purity and temple worship. It is clear that they did not invent the code, but the document as it stands is a codification of customary law.

1. We listen to the word of God


Our text offers a radical economic system to the house of Israel. It prescribes a year of Jubilee in which a) the land shall lie fallow b) the grains shall go un-harvested c) the people shall return to their ancestral homes d) there shall be fair trade e) there shall be fidelity to the Torah/law of Moses f) people shall not make profit from the poor, g) and aliens shall be given hospitality. These covenantal prescriptions were meant to protect the poor and to safeguard the integrity of creation. It is an economic policy that has a bias towards the poor, orphans, widows, strangers and the weak. Such policies should inform us in our struggle against HIV/AIDS, which thrives through poverty, gender injustice, the abuse of orphans and widows.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves and the congregation

Many people often build a wall between economics and theology or shall we say faith reflection. They do not see the two relating anyhow for the former is perceived to be about the mundane things of this of life whilst the latter are about the heavenly things of God. As we can see this is refuted by our text.


Africa has been riddled with poverty for many generations. The poverty then breeds other related problems such as AIDS, corruption, greed and wars. However, our text envisages a situation of holistic social justice, where there is respect for God, for Creation and for human beings. Yahweh requires just systems based on God’s law, which is full of grace and mercy.


We confess that:

· we tolerate structural injustice in our countries which condemn millions of God’s people to poverty
· the church is often guilty of economic injustice by failing to pay just wages to its workers
· we often fail to read God’ s ‘economic ordinances’ contained in the Bible
· we have not taken a prophetic role against our corrupt national governments.


We thank God for:

· God’s word that is full of hope and which provides signposts of how to live
· The continent of Africa, its riches in raw materials and people and
· Those who run poverty eradication programs in our countries.


All: Kum ba yah my Lord
Kum ba yah (x3)
Oh Lord! Kum ba yah

Leader 1:
Someone is Crying Lord
Kum ba yah
Someone in millions, somewhere in
Many places. There are tears of
Suffering, there are tears of weakness
And disappointment. There are tears of
Strength and resilience. There are tears
Of the rich and tears of the poor. Someone
Is crying Lord, redeem the times.

Someone is dying Lord
Kum ba yah (x3)

Leader 2:
Some are dying of hunger and thirst
Someone is dying because someone
Is enjoying too many unnecessary and
Superfluous things. Someone is dying
Because people go on exploiting one another
Some are dying because there are structures
And systems which crush the poor and
Alienate the rich. Someone is dying Lord
Because we are still not prepared to take a
Side, to make a choice, to be a witnesses.
Someone’ is dying, Lord, redeem the times.

Someone is shouting Lord
Kum ba yah (x3)

Leader 3:
Someone is shouting out loud and clear.
Someone has made a choice.
Someone is ready to stand against the times.
Someone is shouting out,
Offering their existence in love and anger
To fight death surrounding us,
To wrestle with the evil with which
We crucify each other.
Someone is shouting, Lord, redeem the times.

Someone is praying Lord,
Kum ba yah (x3)

Leader 4:
Someone is praying Lord,
We are praying in tears and anger
In frustration and weakness,
In strength and endurance,
We are shouting and wrestling,
As Jacob wrestled with the angel,
And was touched, and was marked,
And became a blessing,
We are praying, Lord,
Spur our imagination,
Through Jesus Christ
You have let us know
Where you want us to be
Help us to be there now
Be with us now, touch us, mark us
Let us be a blessing
Let your power be present is our weakness
Someone is praying Lord,
Redeem the times.

Kum ba yah my Lord
Kum ba yah (x3)
Oh Lord kum ba yah. Amen

Suggested idea: The above is both a prayer and a song. It would be helpful to choose people ahead of time who would do the roles of the leaders. As they read out the words provided the rest of the congregation would quietly hum the Kum ba yah tune. The prayers must be read out with conviction. Additional prayers could be written to go with these already provided.
By Moiseraele P. Dibeela
Sermon Text: Luke 16: 19-31

Call to Worship:

(We recite the Song of Mary - Luke 1:46-55)

My soul glorifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For he has been mindful
Of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
For the Mighty One has done great things for me--
Holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
From generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
But has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
But has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
Remembering to be merciful
To Abraham and his descendants forever,
Even as he said to our fathers."


Human beings have never been wealthier than they have become in our times. Ironically as wealth has grown in the world so has inequality. Effectively therefore we have on the one hand the growing wealth of the few and the equally growing gap between them and the poor. It is estimated that up to one billion people in the world are unable to secure food and water. Needles to say that the majority of the world’s poor are to be found in the two-thirds world. While the HI virus is no respecter of persons, nations or races; it is true that people living in abject poverty are
more susceptible to contacting the virus. Destitution and desperation leads many poor people to

engage in risky sexual behavior, hence the HIV infection rate among the poor is faster. To state the matter in this way is not to offer an excuse for the poor and destitute but to acknowledge an important reality. Apart from its role in the spread of HIV, poverty is, in its own right, an abominable assault on human dignity. Poverty should therefore be combated in its own right. However we would be committing a serious omission if we did not point out the link between poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

We read Luke 16:19-31

This is one of the few judgment day parables. In this group of parables, Jesus portrays judgment day scenarios as a means of encouraging conversion in his listeners. Through these parables Jesus is able to demonstrate in concrete terms the kinds of behavior and activities and attitudes necessary for finding favor on judgment day. It is a much more effective teaching tool than the simple listing virtues and vices. Perhaps there is something of a lesson for HIV/AIDS prevention campaigners here. It may not be enough to proclaim long lists of virtuous as opposed to moral behavior. It may be more effective to present credible and gripping scenarios.

In this parable we are told of the lives of two contemporaries, Lazarus and the rich man. Note the amazing literary feat of the storyteller here. He names the poor man - Lazarus - and leaves the rich man unnamed. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it is often the prominent, rich and male who are named while the poor and female are not. Though Lazarus and the rich man were contemporaries living in the same city and village and literally sharing the same living space - for Lazarus lived at his gate so that he smelt the food from the rich man’s kitchen and longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table - their lives could not have been more dissimilar. It seems that in that society rich and poor lived unproblematic ally side by side. There was grinding poverty in the face of ‘stinking’ wealth. While the rich man was dressed in purple and fine linen, Lazarus’ body was ‘dressed’ in open sores - so that the dogs came to lick the sores. Without clothes and malnourished Lazarus was a perfect candidate for disease and premature death. While the rich man lived in luxury everyday, Lazarus lived in abject poverty everyday. Yet they were contemporaries living in the same village and in the same homestead. How is it possible that their lives can be so markedly different? We cannot expect Lazarus to have matched the rich man’s wealth pound for pound, but their contrasting fortunes are striking. The fact that it was possible for the rich man to live in excess wealth means that it was unnecessary for Lazarus to live in abject poverty. There was something wrong with the economic model that governed the city or village where they lived.

The story comes to a head when Lazarus and the rich man die and proceed to life after death. The rich man went straight to hell where he experiences torment while the poor man is taken by angels to heaven where he sits by Abraham’s side. Due to its brevity, the story gives the impression that Lazarus was admitted into heaven purely on the basis of his poverty and the rich man sent to hell purely on the basis of his wealth - suggestions that have caused a great deal of debate and controversy. It seems here though that the rich man had not only ignored the

injunctions of Moses and the prophets during his lifetime but had also failed to take respond to the plight of Lazarus even as Lazarus stood at his gate. Herein lay the error of the rich man. As for poor Lazarus, he endured the indignity of his poverty with courage and tenacity, making his presence felt at the gates of the rich man’s gates. In the sight of such opulence and such abundance he did not rise to plunder and rob, in the face of hunger and disease he did not force his way into the rich man’s palace, in the face of being ignored daily he sat in hope at the gates of the rich man’s home. This appears to be the reason he was rewarded.

2. We Apply the Word of God and to ourselves


· That when massive poverty exists alongside massive wealth there sis something wrong with the socio-economic arrangements
· That the inequality cannot be sustained without dire consequences in the long-term
· That there is a definite linkage between susceptibility to HIV infection and poverty
· Than parabolic scenario based teaching may be more effective in HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns than moralizing


· We confess that we have not done enough to challenge policies that allow a few very wealthy people to live alongside many very people
· We confess that in failing to eradicate poverty we have contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS
· We confess that we have moralized about HIV/AIDS rather than offer realistic real-life HIV/AIDS scenarios in our teaching about HIV/AIDS prevention


· We can be thankful for the fact that the are poor people who have not succumbed to the indignities and temptations that come with poverty
· We can be thankful that there are rich people who see the Lazaruses who stand at their gates so that they are willing to find structured long-term solutions.


· We pray for policy makers and economic planners to work for a world where there is a more equal distribution of wealth

3. We Apply the Word of God to the Congregation


· We should feel lucky that in a world where extremely rich and extremely poor live side by side with the gap between them ever widening, there has not been more conflict, more crime and more instability.


· We can be activists in the eradication of poverty.

4. Conclusion: Word to Society

How many other poor people will be able to endure the indignity of poverty, to smell delicious food from next door and not rise to demand, rob or plunder? How may poor people will not succumb to the temptation of selling their bodies and souls in exchange for a little food on the table? This is what makes poor people so susceptible to HIV/AIDS in our times. In this sense Lazarus is an exception who cannot be used as a role model. For many poor people are not able to wait for heavenly rewards any more than the rich do. Yet even as the poor rise in protest and survival tactics, they can only put themselves in further risk and danger.

Prayer of Commitment
(Someone may recite Psalm 10:12-20)

Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself?
"He won't call me to account"?
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
You consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;
Call him to account for his wickedness
That would not be found out.
The LORD is King for ever and ever;
The nations will perish from his land.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
You encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
Defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
In order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. Amen.

(choose any appropriate song)

Food, sack clothes, fruits, gold, globe, broken wall etc. i. GENDER INJUSTICE
Sermon Text: John 20: 11-18


Amongst all the developments achieved in Botswana society since its independence, namely economic, infrastructure the one slow development is that of gender justice. This is not unique to Botswana only as gender injustice is common all over the world. In Botswana, however, some advancement has been made to address the inequalities experienced by women. Women’s groups themselves have mainly spearheaded these efforts.

In spite of the on going attempts, there are still a lot of inequalities experienced by women compared to their male counterparts. Even though women make up 51% of the population of Botswana their full legal capacity is being denied under both Common and Customary law in Botswana. Evidence suggests that certain provisions discriminate against women under these laws. This has further led women to have fewer advantages culturally, socially, economically and sexually than their male counterparts. Men are believed to make decisions and determine the livelihood of everybody. This is so in all spheres of Botswana society, politics, society, the workplace, the home and institutions like the Church. This has a direct impact and implication on the spread of the HIV/AIDS disease, the role of caregivers etc. Women have no control over their bodies. They hardly say no to unprotected sex from their partners or husbands even when they know that they are unfaithful. Women are also exposed to violence and rape. This makes them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection.

1. We listen to the word


I see the resurrection of Jesus as a symbol of freedom. Jesus’ followers were relieved when they discovered that the body of Jesus was not there. Their sadness turned to joy, as they knew that death was not the ultimate for Jesus. Jesus’ freedom inspired the disciples to feel the very freedom that he experienced, freedom from condemnation, and freedom from the pain of the crucifixion, ultimate freedom. Jesus’ freedom meant freedom for his followers. They had no reason to be frightened, or hurt or depressed because Jesus was alive. He came to free all.

It is ironic that Mary being a woman and representing women is the bearer of this message of freedom or experienced that ultimate freedom first. In fact the other gospels mention Mary as being amongst other women. They were the ones that passed on this message of freedom to the rest of the followers, male followers. This is ironic because women are the very ones bound by law, traditions and cultures. They are the ones bound in relationships of violence and hurt and

they are the ones that are often too scared to spread this message of freedom to the rest of the society. Research indicates that gender injustice is one of the main contributors towards the spread of HIV/AIDS and that if education is provided in this regard then the issue of gender inequality need to be addressed too. I believe this passage has a very important message for women as liberators of their own oppression.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves.


· That women ought to be the bearers of the message of freedom/gender justice and take responsibility not to get infected with HIV/AIDS
· That women need to spearhead activities to liberate women
· That Jesus Christ revealed himself to women and commissions them to tell the good news of his resurrection.


· That we as women often fail to speak out and just accept the status quo
· That women are sometimes guilty of oppressing themselves and other women further with their attitudes, infidelity and dishonesty
· That as men, in families, church and society we have denied women the freedom God gives to them.


· For the many advancements made towards gender justice
· For worshipping a God of justice
· For Jesus who went beyond traditions and cultures to achieve gender justice


· For the elimination of the spread of HIV/AIDS that is fuelled by gender injustice
· For women and men to become aware of gender injustice
· For the Church which is guilty of perpetuating gender injustice
· For the human rights as women’s rights.

3. We apply the Word of God to our church/society


· We need deliberate educational strategies to educate people about gender injustice from a biblical perspective
· Always to be prophetic and address issues around language, attitudes, culture and traditions when they come forums like meeting
· Become strong advocates as men and women on gender justice.

Song: (the leader may choose the appropriate song)


God our creator, your image is so beautiful. It may vary from child, to mother, from grandfather to lover, but it is your image.

We pray, that we might see the same beautiful images in each other.
Help us to grow beyond our own prejudices of gender injustice of hatred and abuse.

Help us to appreciate our differences, so that we might affirm each other.
Mould us into your image, we pray. Amen.


Texto sugerido: João 20. 11-18


Entende-se por género o papel que a sociedade dá aos homens mulheres rapazes e raparigas. A injustiça do género refere-se ao facto de a sociedade não dar poder igual para homens e mulheres. Mulheres e raparigas são inferiorizadas, não são dadas os seus direitos, chegando ao cúmulo de na Bíblia não serem numericamente mencionadas (Mt 14.21). Essa discriminação faz com que elas sejam excluídas na execução de muitas tarefas, sobretudo nas de lidarença. Durante a sua vida terrena, Jesus notabilizou-se na defesa, integração e na restauração da dignidade da mulher. Na era do HIV/SIDA, as mulheres devem deixar de se esconder, de lamentar e de chorar, procurando informar-se cada vez mais e melhor sobre esta doença e estar na vanguarda no seu combate.
Muitas vezes, as mulheres não têm poder para recusar o sexo, mesmo quando não estão preparadas. Isso faz delas escravas da vontade dos seus companheiros. Não à violência, não à violação, não à gravidez indesejada, não à infecção de qualquer género, não à discriminação. Em muitas culturas, as mulheres não tem poder para ser líderes mas, nesta passagem, Jesus dá à mulher poder para liderar. Se quisermos lutar contra o HIV/SIDA, as mulheres tem que ser dadas poder, como Jesus fez.


Obrigada Senhor, por me teres feito mulher. Isso faz de mim, uma criatura doce, amável, delicada sem ser fraca, e aquela que traz novos seres ao mundo. Obrigada por me teres chamado ao teu serviço. Por causa dessa chamada, tenho muitas oportunidades de ajudar outras pessoas. Faça com que as mulheres tenham ouvidos para ouvir e olhos para ver, sobretudo no que diz respeito ao HIV/SIDA. Amen.


Escolhe uma que esteja de acordo com a mensagem

Você sabia que quando,
A fotografia da família está na secretária DELE
Ah! Ele é um homem de família sólida e responsável.
A fotografia da família está na secretária DELA
Humm, a sua família é mais importante do que a sua carreira.

A mesa DELE está desordenada. Ele é um homem trabalhador e muito ocupado.
A mesa DELA está desordenada. Ela é obviamente muito desorganizada.

ELE está a falar com os colegas. De certeza está a discutir assuntos do serviço.
ELA está a falar com as colegas. Deve estar a fazer fofoca!
ELE não está na sua secretária, deve estar numa reunião.
ELA não está na sua secretária. Deve estar na casa de banho.

ELE está a almoçar com o director da empresa, de certeza que vai ser promovido
ELA está a almoçar com o director da empresa, devem ter um caso.

ELE vai a uma conferência internacional. É bom para a sua carreira.
ELA vai a uma conferência internacional. O que é que o marido vai dizer?

ELE vai fazer o seu doutoramento. È bom para a sua carreira.
ELA vai fazer o seu doutoramento. O que é que ela quer provar?
ELA vai sair para um trabalho melhor. Não se pode depender das mulheres.

Autor anônimo (a)
Por: Felicidade N. Cherinda

Suggested Passage: John 8:1-12

By using the poetic opening, lead the congregation to grasp the reality of violence against women through the various stories of biblical women and the women in our lives, many of whom underwent/go violence. Assign different verses to different women and let them read their verses wherever they are seated. The poetic opening will be followed by the reading of the text. Given that violence is often shrouded in silence, arrange in advance for one woman to stand up and retell the story of the woman caught in adultery, explaining or providing missing information. If time and setting does not allow, begin with the introduction going downward or use some of the poetic verses. The preacher/worship leader/Bible study leader may use some of the suggested symbols to arrange the meeting place accordingly.

Poetic Opening:

Woman 1:
I am Eve, the bone of your bone, and the flesh of your flesh.
Woman 2:
I am Sarah, the woman who calls you Lord and master.
Woman 3:
I am Hagar your maidservant; your unofficial wife.
Woman 4:
I am Leah, the woman you married against your will.
Woman 5:
I am Dinah your only daughter who is raped by Schechem.
Woman 6:
I am Tamar, your desperate widow who plays the sex worker.
Woman 7:
I am Ruth, your young widow sleeping at your feet, asking for your cover.
Woman 8:
I am Bathsheba, raped by your king and married by the same.
Woman 9:
I am Vashti, your wife killed so that all women can obey husbands.
Woman 10:
I am the Levite’s concubine, raped by the mob & cut up by my lover.

All Women:
We are the broken women of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
We are the broken women in a broken world.
We are women searching for our own healing.

Woman 11:
I am Mary, the pregnant woman with no place to go.
Woman 12:
I am the Samaritan woman, with five husbands and none for her own.
Woman 13:
I am Martha, the woman who is cooking while you sit and talk.
Woman 14:
I am Mary, the woman who silently anoints your feet with oil.
Woman 15:
I am the street woman, washing your feet with my tears.
Woman 16:
I am the bent over woman, waiting for your healing touch.
Woman 17:
I am the bleeding woman, struggling to touch your garment of power.
Woman 18:
I am Anna, the widow praying for liberation in your church.
Woman 19:
I am the persistent widow in your courts, crying, “Grant me Justice.”
Woman 20:
I am Jezebel, the demonized woman, blamed for all evil.

All Women: We are women of the of the New Testament.
We are broken women in a broken world.
We are women searching for our own healing.

Woman 21:
I am the woman in your home, I am your wife.
Woman 22:
I am the woman in your house, I am your lover, your live-in girlfriend.
Woman 23:
I am the woman in your life, I am your mother.
Woman 24:
I am a woman in your workplace, I am your secretary.
Woman 25:
I am a woman in your streets, I am your sex worker.
Woman 26:
I am a working woman in your house with no property of my own.
Woman 27:
I am the woman in your life with no control over my body.
Woman 28
: I am the woman in your bed with a blue eye and broken ribs.
Woman 29:
I am the woman raped in your house, streets, offices and church.
Woman 30:
I am the woman in your church, cooking, cleaning, clapping & dancing.

All Women:
We are women of the world.
We are African Women.
And we are Christian women.
We are broken women in a broken world.
We are women seeking for our own healing.


Violence against women takes many different forms such as emotional, physical, psychological and economic. In most cases, it is closely linked with gender inequalities, which deny women control over their bodies, leadership and economic power. In the HIV/AIDS era, violence against women hampers both HIV/AIDS prevention and provision of quality care to the infection. Sexual activities that are violent increases infection rate since chance of bodily tearing are high. Further, in violent relationship women are often not able to insist on safer sex, or even abstinence. Further, the context of HIV/AIDS in itself has increased violence against women, since the girl-child is targeted for rape by older men who believe they are less likely to be infected and by HIV+ positive men who want to cleanse themselves of the virus. Women in stable relationships often find themselves blamed for bringing HIV/AIDS home, for witchcraft at the death of their spouses. They are dispossessed at the death of their spouses, forcing some to turn to sex work.

In many cultures, violence against women is tolerated in many different ways. Some cultures think it is acceptable that husbands should physically discipline their wives or partners. Relatives, friends and some cultural perspectives counsel abused wives or women in relationships to endure and tolerate their violence. Church ministers ask abused women to submit and to forgive their abusing partners. Some countries have laws that write women as second citizens and minors. All these are the structures that maintain and perpetuate violence against women.

Reading of the Text:
John 8:1-12

Breaking the silence:
Retelling what happened to the accused woman; why the involved man was not brought forward, using contextual experiences/stories.

1. We listen to the Word of God


Verses 1-2:

Ø The setting of the story is given, both of place (Mount of Olives and temple courts) and time (dawn). The setting gives us the background of where the story occurs.
Ø The verses also highlight that there were many people around Jesus, who become the witness of the woman’s case. They also indicate that Jesus was a teacher.

Verses 3-4:

Ø The accused, the woman caught in adultery, and her accusers, and the teachers of the law and the Pharisees arrive in the temple. They state the case. She was caught in adultery and the law of Moses says she should be stoned, they say. Note that they did not bring the man who was involved with her!
Ø Note that she is made to stand before the whole group that was in the temple. Is this for embarrassment or that she may be seen by all?
Ø Note that her accusers, like Jesus are teachers of the law and they base their case on the law of Moses, either as written or as they interpret it. For some reason, they want Jesus’ opinion, “Now what do you say?”
Ø Note also that the woman does not speak for herself. She neither denies nor confirms. Her gender did not allow her to speak in court, as she was held to be a minor.

Verses 6-7:

Ø The text gives us the reason for their question—they wanted to accuse Jesus, if he contradicted the law. Is this right to use a woman for their own arguments? This brings other questions to the fore: was she really caught in adultery or set up and raped?
Ø Note that Jesus, sensing their motive, keeps quite. Instead of making any verbal response, he starts to write on the ground with his finger. Why this silence? Is he thinking? Does he want them to think more about their case?
Ø Note that they persist, ‘they kept on questioning him.’ Then he responds. His response is not so much on quoting the law of Moses, but on the basis of sin.
Ø Highlight that Jesus says, they can stone her if they do not have any sin. It is not clear which sin Jesus refers too, but this may very well include adultery on the side of her accusers. It may not, but the point is every sin is sin and no one is sinless.
Ø Highlight that Jesus challenges these leaders to realize that sin is sin regardless or who commits it. It should not be gendered. Jesus challenges them to apply law to both genders. Underline that women’s sins are no worse that men’s sins. Such a division sanctions the oppression of women.

Verses: 8-9:

Ø Jesus bends down again to write on the ground, giving his listeners time to reflect on what he said and time to examine themselves.
Ø Highlight the impact; namely, that the accusers leave, one by one. They realize they are also sinners. Such a point is important in the HIV/AIDS era where many church leaders have labeled those who are HIV+ are sinners who deserve punishment. Underline, that let those who are sinless be the first to label HIV+ people as those whose deserve punishment. We are all sinful, only saved by grace.
Ø Highlight that, “beginning with the elders,” indicating that many outstanding church leaders are not sinless. No one is sinless.

Verse 10-11:

Ø Jesus speaks to the woman and she speaks to him. Note that Jesus allows the woman to speak and assures her, “neither do I condemn you.’ This is grace. The latter is important approach, for too many church leaders and relatives who receive abused women condemn them. They stand with the accusers, by insisting that women must be obedient, humble or that the victim invited it upon themselves.
Ø Highlight that Jesus refuses to side with the woman’s accusers, who use her as a public spectacle, they use the woman to trap him.
Ø Underline that Jesus, though himself sinless, does not condemn the woman. This point needs emphasis, for too many Christians, who suppose themselves holy, rush to judge and to condemn those whom they regard as sinful. Our call as Christ followers, however, is to give grace. Like Jesus, we must not condemn anyone.

2. We Apply the Word of God to ourselves


· It is easy to be religious people who participate in violence against women
· That in many societies women may not even have a chance to speak for themselves
· That the interpretation of the law by male teachers can be biased against women
· Many cultures, including the Bible, disregard men’s sins and highlight those of women. This does not help us in the HIV/AIDS struggle
· We can stand and advocate for the rights of the oppressed, abused women.


· We have not always stood against violence against women
· Violence against women happens in our churches
· Many Christian homes are violent against women
· Many pastors’ counseling of couples actually tolerates violence and gender biased
· Our tolerance for violence has not helped HIV/AIDS prevention and care.


· The example that Jesus sets for us to resist violence against women
· The biblical belief that all people were created in God’s image
· For grace that enables us to love, forgive and avoid being judgmental
· The NGOs that fight against violence against women
· The human rights charters the CEDAW convention.


· To become non-violent homes, Christian families and church
· To become a non-violent nation that protect the rights of women.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation

· We can promote the Decade of Overcoming Violence
· Train our members on conflict resolution skills

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

In many societies and homes, women are subjugated to violence on the basis of their gender. Unfortunately, many church structures and homes are not exemplary since they practice the culture of gender inequalities. Yet the gospel of Christ continues to challenge us to renew ourselves and to seek ever more to understand Christ and God’s will for God’s world and all people. On these basis, we do well as a church to proclaim for ourselves and for the society at large that, “in Christ, there is neither male or female” (Gal.3:28) we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27-28).

(Let us break bread together)

Lord’s Supper
(Should be served as part of the healing)


Ndi Mitima (In
Thuma Mina, 14)
(Or any other appropriate song).

Closing Prayer:

Creator God, you created the earth and everything in it.
You created everything interdependent and you created everything good.
You created women and men in your image, you blessed them both.
Help us to see your image on the faces of the victims of our violence.
Help us to remember we have no right to subject anyone to violence.
Help all of us who live in violence to realize and to affirm our own dignity
Help us to realize we were made in God image.
Help us to remember that we should never tolerate violence.
Help your church to realize that Jesus did not tolerate violence against women.
Help us to fight violence in the HIV/AIDS era for it hampers both prevention and the Provision of quality care. In Jesus name, we pray.

Suggested Objects/Symbols/ideas:
Pictures of women in various situations; testimony or a story of a woman who lived in violence and overcame it. Bread and wine for the eucharist. You can invite an NGO that deal with violence against women to give a brief talk on the issue.
By Musa W. Dube

Sermon Text: Judges 19

Prayer: (All)

When God created the world and all in it, it was good. We gather together to affirm the goodness of the world that God created. We reclaim the good that is in all humanity. We reject the negative forces that bring pain and death in the life of the community. We claim the Spirit of God that brings renewal on earth so that justice can prevail. Amen.


Singa anadula Yesu//(Chains were broken by Jesus)
Singa anadula, Yesu//(Chains were broken by Jesus)
Singa anadula//(Chains were broken)
Singa anadula//(Chains were broken)

Moyo wapereka, Yesu//(Life has been given by Jesus)
Moyo wapereka, Yesu//(Life has been given by Jesus)
Moyo wapereka//(Life has been given)
Moyo wapereka//(Life has been given)

Tiimbe Haleluya, Yesu//(We sing Haleluya, Jesus)
Tiimbe Haleluya, Jesu//(We sing Haleluya, Jesus)
Tiimbe Haleluya//(We sing Haleluya)
Tiimbe Haleluya//(We sing Haleluya)

A Popular Malawian Chorus


Domestic violence is one form of the gender-based violence experienced by women and girls in their homes. It occurs in the form of battery, sexual abuse of female children and workers, female genital mutilation, dowry-related violence, marital rape, emotional, verbal, psychological, economic and spiritual abuse. Domestic violence can lead to the hospitalization or even death of the victim. In the era of HIV/AIDS, domestic violence also leads to intentional infection of the victim with the HIV.

Whatever form it takes domestic violence against women make women and girls live in the context of fear every day of their lives. The victims suffer physically, emotionally psychologically and spiritually for a long time, especially where there are no support systems. When women and girls live in such a state, it has negative effect on the development of the society as a whole. Domestic violence is a common event suffered by the majority of women regardless of race, educational background and economic status. Women under such conditions cannot insist on safer sex, in or outside wedlock. Neither can such women abstain or insist on faithfulness from their partners.

1. We listen to the Word of God

(The leader or a member of the congregation can read the text of Judges 19)
The story of Judges 19 is very shocking in its contents because of the way the concubine was treated, first by the owner of the house and second by the Levite.


Ø There was a domestic problem that made the concubine of the Levite to return to her father’s house from Judah to Bethlehem. In the traditional African concept of marriage, the concubine would have been called one of the many wives of the Levite.
Ø The Levite followed his wife to her father’s house to seek reconciliation.
Ø The father of the wife is happy about the prospects of reconciliation because in the Jewish culture, just like in the African culture, it is a disgrace for a woman to return to her parents due to marital problems. The father keeps the Levite much longer than he had intended. He seems hesitant about letting her go.
Ø When eventually the Levite started off to return to his home in Judah with his wife, it was late and he had to seek night accommodation for himself and his wife and their party at an old man’s home in Gibeah in Benjamin.
Ø In the evening, the men of Gebeah surrounded the oldman’s house demanding that they wanted to rape the Levite and the men of his team.
Ø The old man found the request to be disgraceful. Instead he offered the men to rape the wife of the Levite.
Ø The woman was thrown to the men outside and they raped her until morning. In the morning she was found dead outside the old man’s house.
Ø The Levite took the body of his wife to Judah and on reaching home, he cut his wife’s body into twelve peaces, which he sent to the twelve tribes of Israel, seeking revenge for the death of his wife.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Married women are under pressure to return to their husbands because they are not welcomed in their parents’ home
· Marriages where there is more than one wife have the potential of bringing HIV infection in our period in the history of humanity, and therefore should be condemned
· It is inhuman to give a woman to a mob of men to be raped, especially because one is protecting a man from rape
· It is even more injustice to seek revenge for the murder of this woman, when one did not protest before she was given to the mob to rape her
· Even if the woman would have survived the mob rape, if it was today, she could have been infected with HIV and she could have had serious psychological and emotional problems in her marriage and life.


· For not protecting married women from domestic violence
· For choosing to protect men at the expense of women, especially in our counseling of couples who are having marital problems
· For valuing the institution of marriage more than protecting the lives of abused married women
· For turning a blind eye to the infidelity of married men in the name of culture and being ruthless with the infidelity of married women
· Keeping quiet when institutionalized raping of married women take place through cleansing rituals
· For tolerating patriarchal cultures that do not value women lives.


· That God is on the side of the suffering women
· That God demands justice for all the oppressed people
· There are church related organizations that provide shelter for abused women.


· All women who are in situations of abuse by their spouses
· All the perpetrators of women abuse to stop and start respecting women as human beings who reflect the image of God
· The church to preach against domestic violence and to counsel couples in such a way that promotes justice
· More church based institutions that work for the protection of abused married women
· Church leaders who assure prophetic role against violence against woman with their congregation and society at large.

3. We apply the word of God to the congregation


· Repentant that rape cases of wives are found even in Christian homes and they are justified by the wrong use of scriptures.
· Sorry for the married women whose future is ruined because of institutionalized rape experience after the death of a husband and they are forced into cultural cleansing sexual rituals.
· Responsible for keeping quiet when rape was happening even with our knowledge
· Anger towards the rapists, who are empowered by cultural beliefs and practices.


· A community that is against any form of abuse against women and children
· A healing community for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence


· Preach against violence against children and women. We need to break the chains of silence
· Provide shelter and counseling for victims of rape. Let us begin by creating an atmosphere of trust so that the victims can have the courage to talk about it
· We also need to declare a zero tolerance for any form of abuse
· We need to be open enough to accommodate the perpetrators of abuse Confronting them alone will not solve the problem but also leading them to deliverance. We know Jesus as the one who delivers us from all forms of evil
· We need to give back to people the sense of integrity and a purpose for life that is taken away by abuse
· Train our church leaders on how to deal with domestic violence.

4. Conclusion: Word of God on the society

The process of eradicating domestic violence requires a united approach. Individually, Christians need to make a commitment to stop domestic violence, starting with themselves and members of their families. The community has the responsibility of stopping the cultural beliefs and practices that promote violence against women. At a church level, the sermons that promote violence against women must stop. The church should not promote marriage at the expense of the lives of women. The community and the church need to accept the fact that sometimes divorce is necessary to preserve the lives of women from physical violence that sometimes lead to death and exposure to the HIV. At a family level, there should be room and support for married women who return home because they are suffering from violence. At a national level, the constitution should have strict laws against the abuse of women and the courts should be women friendly in their passing of sentences to perpetrators of domestic violence where such instruments are lacking, the church should assume a prophetic role to the society.


We the church of Jesus Christ confess that we have contributed to domestic violence, by keeping quiet when we saw it happening and by promoting teachings and practices that put the lives of married women in danger.

We seek your forgiveness Lord. We pray for courage to promote justice for both men and women. We thank you because, if we confess our sins and we are sincere about it, you are willing to forgive us and help us to start a new life of justice and peace.
In Jesus name. Amen.

Sharing the Peace:

(The congregation will share peace either by signing or saying the following words)

Peace to you.
We bless you now
In the name of the Lord
Peace to you.
We bless you now in the name of the prince of
Peace to you.

The preacher can organize a drama or concert that castigate all the acts of domestic violence, a broken reed or branch, a broken jaw bone a sign of danger, red light, blood soaked clothes, fallen teeth, broken ribs, musical instruments etc.

Sermon Text: 2 Samuel 13:1-22


The Jewish communities were basically kinship-based. It is a known reality that in such kinship-based communities, women learn from an early age to subordinate their own well being to the good of the community. In such communities, sexuality issues are basically power issues. Those who determine the ‘what, when, where and how’ of heterosexual sex will take place are those who have power—
in this case, men (Gupta 2001). Women can make sexual decisions neither can they negotiate safer nor more honorable sex. Within such realities, even when virginity is demanded from girls, they have no power to determine this state. This was Tamar’s reality.

Tragically the HIV/AIDS epidemic has fueled rape in Southern Africa. Rape cases have rocketed to epidemic levels in the past seven years as the HIV/AIDS epidemic grew. Why? There are many reasons. The epidemic’s impact renders men powerless. They loose control—even over women’s bodies. Now they are told to condomise, to be faithful and to abstain! They are told to fear HIV/AIDS. Also women’s bodies have always been associated with disease and seen to be at the availability of men’s disease. Not surprisingly, one on the reasons that rape has escalated is because it is believed that sleeping with a virgin cleanses one of HIV/AIDS! But what happens to the virgin? How does she cleanse herself? This is not a factor—she is after all a woman, and her body is there for men’s service. She can die, I suppose. It does not matter. But some rape cases are also fueled by anger and revenge. Men who are HIV+ blame women for giving them STDS. In fact many cultures in Southern Africa equate STDs with men. They are regarded as the diseases of women. All these gendered perspectives only fuel violence against women and expose women to HIV/AIDS infection. Let us turn to the biblical text to view the case of Tamar’s rape.

1. We Listen to God’s Word

Tamar was a beautiful girl, a virgin daughter of King David. Amnon was her stepbrother who had lustful feelings for Tamar, his beautiful stepsister. Like most of our communities today, there were double standards when it came to sexual morality among the Jews. While virginity among girls was highly valued and expected, the expectations were different when it came to boys. Put the following questions to the audience;

· What cultural biases were Jonadab, Amnon’s friend and cousin counting on when he gave the advice, which was to give a chance for Amnon to rape Tamar?

· Was Amnon fulfilled after raping Tamar? What feelings were experienced by Amnon, Tamar, David, Absolom (Tamar’s brother)? Why?

· Why did David not punish Amnon after hearing that he had defiled Tamar?


In classic Greek, there were four words that could express the concept of love or affection. These were:
Eros: meaning ‘sexual attraction’; Philia: meaning ‘brotherly/sisterly love’; Storge: meaning ‘family affection’ and Agape: meaning ‘self-giving’ love. What Amnon felt for Tamar in verse one of our Biblical texts cannot be defined as love in its true sense (that attitude of affection and goodwill that respects the loved- not uncontrolled emotions), but lust, so probably a very selfish eros by one person without any respect for the other- lust?

Verses 1-2:

Ø Amnon thinks he is in love with his stepsister Tamar. He knows she is a virgin and therefore a girl with very high sexual morality and so principled that she can not be coaxed into have sexual intercourse with him.

Verses 3-8:

Ø Amnon takes his sexist friend’s advice and acts on it. He deceives his father David and even Tamar. David who himself who had raped Bathsheba and deceived Uriah and the rest of his people lived to see the same plus incest happen within his family –(in fulfillment of God’s judgment through Nathan’s pronouncements?)

Verse 12-14:

Ø Tamar was aware of the double stand nature of sexual expectations amongst their people. When Tamar tried to reason with him about the humiliating results of either sex outside marriage and rape, Amnon used force and raped her.

Verse 15-19:

Ø What seemed to be love clearly turned out to be lust? After raping her, Amnon hated her. She was so violated and humiliated as servants had to shut her out in obedience to their master’s directive. She had lost her virginity and therefore had to tear the richly ornamented robe she had been wearing.

Verses 20-22:

Ø Absalom took her in meanwhile offering her some consolation while concealing his own hatred for Amnon.

2. We Apply God’s Word to Ourselves


· True love respects the wishes/desires of the person it targets but anything less than that is selfish and violating lustful feelings that should not be entertained in any way.


· For abusing our powers so as to violate other people’s freedoms and rights
· For contributing to an environment that makes those we consider powerless live with no control over their bodies
· For condoning a culture of abuse of the powerless especially women and children by our silence and fear thus making them more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections including HIV.


· We have a model of what love should be in God’s love for us, male and female
· There are clear laws against violence against women especially rape.


· That both men and women will be committed to fight against violence against women.
· The Church will be prophetic even in issues of gender disparity that lead to violence against women
· Those women in abusive sexual relationship will denounce these practices by coming in the open against them and by refusing to continue in such relationships that make them less than what God intended for them.


· Anger at the people who practice such abuses
· Compassion for the women who have experienced such abuses
· Concern for the rape victim’s well being (psychological as well as physical).


· A healing community that is committed to making better living conditions for every member of the community- making sure that there is fair distribution of power.


· Preaching and teaching sexuality education that emphasizes mutuality and respect
· Denounce any form of violence including rape
· Report any known cases of violence against women and children.

3. We apply the Word of God to the Congregation and Society

· The Church to refuse to wed any couples that have not been counseled about the mutuality and respect of each partner in a marriage relationship especially in this HIV/AIDS era.
· To denounce double standard nature of sexual morality in both the Church and community at large- acknowledging that sexual abstinence and faithfulness is expected from both male and female.
· The church should pressurize governments to take tougher actions against rapists and provide counseling for victims.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in
evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects…” (1 Cor.13: 4-7).


What a friend we have in Jesus)

Closing Prayer:

Your body was broken for us. Your blood was spilled for us. We as women have been washed clean and made members of your body through baptism. W are the temples of your Holy Spirit. Help us to remember this and to refuse to tolerate any violence against us. Help us to say no to HIV/AIDS death. Bless us Lord, Amen.

The grace of our Savoir Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with us all, now and ever more. AMEN.

4. Services on Race & Ethnic Based Discrimination

Sermon Text: Genesis 21:8-21


The theme of discrimination is central to this story. Hagar is from Egypt while Abraham and Sarah are form Ur of the Chaldeans. One is a servant and the other master/mistress, their power relations are not the same and it becomes part of the problem. They did not speak the same language and did not have the same culture. However, when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael as a surrogate for Sarah, it affected the power relations and made Sarah bitter. It was two women who were both victims of a patriarchal society. Nowadays it is discrimination based on many things and it is not limited to gender. Discrimination against those who are HIV positive is very prevalent today. It takes place on a personal, cultural, economic and community levels. The children also suffer as orphans who are often ill-treated or exploited by guardians.

God has to work with us as we are in our cultural conditioning which, more often than not, gets into God’s way. What God promises, God fulfills in God’s own time and way. In and through God’s activity God also reveals who God is. God never gives up on God’s own people even those who have resulted from human mistakes. We need to learn to accept our mistakes and live with their consequences even as God continues to bless us.

1. We Listen to the Word of God

The story of the relationship between Sarah and Hagar is a tragedy that leaves all involved as victims. The God of impossibilities left it too long to tempt both Abraham and Sarah to try to fulfill the promise of a child. Very few of us could have behaved differently. Seeking to fulfill the cultural expectation of fatherhood and motherhood through a surrogate sexual partner were such power forces that both Abraham and Sarah succumbed to the temptation with devastating consequences for all involved. What can we learn from such a story about all involved including God?

Consider the following questions:

· What caused Sarah to request Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son?
· What was Sarah fearing?
· Why was Abraham distressed?
· Who gets hurt by discrimination?
· Did God’s intervention in both cases change the situation in any way?

2. We apply the word to ourselves and the congregation

· That child bearing was and still is considered critical to being fulfilled as a woman or man in many cultures
· That we are often influence by cultural norms in our decisions that may be contrary to the will of God
· That mistakes made may have long term consequences for all involved
· That God may intervene in the consequences of our mistakes and continue to bless us. This is grace.


· Our being self-centred and using other people
· Causing pain to others and refusing to accept responsibility
· Men’s sexual sins in the name of culture
· Pressurizing women to bear heirs
· Expectation to parent makes HIV/AIDS prevention difficulties
· Discriminating women.


· God’s unfailing promises
· God’s loving intervention and blessings
· That all were created in God’s image.


· Wisdom to decide well
· God’s forgiveness when we make mistakes
· The capacity to live peacefully with our differences.


· Sympathy for Hagar and Ishmael
· Sorry for Sarah and Abraham for the cultural pressure they under went.
· Happiness at God’s intervention


· Trustful of God’s promises
· Loving to other people in the community
· Parents to many orphaned children.


· Identify those who are being discriminated against in our communities
· Take action to address the problem communally by creating awareness and providing physical and legal protection
· Provide care for those who are suffering from HIV or as a consequence of it
· Adopt children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Put these question to the congregation

· Did Sarah do the right thing?
· Who gets hurt by the discrimination we practice against others?
· What can we learn from God’s intervention?
· Would you have done differently if you were Abraham?
· What are some of the cultural practices that people follow but are contrary to God’s word?

We apply God’s Word to the Congregation

· What did Sarah and Hagar not have in common?
· What was the role of class and racial distinctions in their difficult relationship?
· How do we deal positively with distinctions of class, gender, and race in the congregations?
· How can we celebrate difference among ourselves?

Song: “What a Friend we have in Jesus”

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and grieves to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit!
O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior still our refuge,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do they friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
Prayer: Read Psalm 103 responsively or any appropriate prayer.

Suggested Objects/symbols/ideas:
Walking stick, suitcase, ticket, barrier, poster of refugees or displaced persons, chains, etc.

Sermon Text: Matthew 15: 21-28


Ethnic discrimination has always been part of Southern Africa and other parts of Africa. We grew up believing that other cultural groups were less or better people than ourselves. This has not died down. Having lived in South Africa, Botswana and England I have come across conversations in which derogatory terms are used for people from different ethnic backgrounds. In some countries this discrimination has increased to the extent that ethnic wars have developed between people. Does this applying to your own context, country and region?

Today with a lot of instability in countries surrounding Botswana, people from other ethnic groups are flooding the country hoping to find a better life. This has resulted in xenophobia on the part of the locals and one can say that we adopt the same discriminatory attitude portrayed in the passage. These attitudes however are not only prevalent against foreigners but also exercised within the country against the ethnic minority groups themselves. The disadvantages are always conspicuous on the side of the groups discriminated against. With HIV/AIDS, for example, these are the groups that would have less educational opportunities; they are the ones that would not have easy access to Anti- retroviral drugs or medical care. They are often the ones left behind in any advancements made. As for immigrations they often have no legal right to health services, jobs and education this does not help both prevention and care.

1. We listen to the word of God


The prejudice, which the Jews felt toward the Syrophoenician woman, is clear in the passage. Matthew calls her Canaanite, an indication that she comes from a people of reproach. It is Jesus’ attitude that surprises me and makes the story difficult to understand since he is usually the one that does not harbor discriminatory attitudes. Jesus, in other stories, like with the Samaritan woman (John 4), crosses boundaries and reaches out to people in spite of the Jewish expectations and beliefs to stay away from other ethnic groups.

In this passage, however, he approaches the woman with harshness and prejudice. He first of all believes that he has not come for other people except for the Jews. He also uses the derogatory term, which was used at the time for people who were believed to have been godless namely dogs. He uses the diminunitive term ‘puppies’ or ‘doggies’. Some commentaries believe he was just being humoristic whilst others say that he wanted to teach his followers a lesson. To me, it seems that Jesus’ own prejudices were tested. The woman’s faith and persistence opened Jesus’ eyes. This is in its self is very good. If Jesus could change his views about discrimination, we should also do the same.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That Jesus’ prejudices to other cultural groups were also tested and that we are not immune from such prejudices
· Jesus was willing to change his mind.


· That we are most of the times guilty of ethnic discrimination
· We have referred to some ethnic groups as dogs
· We have refused to talk to some ethnic groups
· We have to serve only our own people.


· That God created us with diverse languages, colors and cultures
· That we are all created in God’s image
· That all the children deserve bread at the table.


· That we might open up and accept people who are different from us
· That all people should get equal access to medical facilities and HIV/AIDS treatment in spite of who they are or where they come from
· The international pharmacies will make HIV/AIDS drugs affordable for all people.

3. We apply the Word of God to our church/society


· Partner with groups that are different from us so as to learn about their cultures
· Lobby for HIV/AIDS medical services on behalf of disadvantaged groups, discriminated groups and immigration
· Provide education to groups so that they might learn about other cultures and have opportunity to ask questions and understand
· Fight the HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination against PLWHA’s.

4. Illustration

(The text is rewritten to highlight some of the ways in which we discriminate today).

Verse 21:

Ø In order to avoid any further interruption at the surgery the doctor decided to go home. He got into his car and drove off to find some quiet time.

Verse 22:

Ø However as he approached his gate he found a refugee sitting
Ø and waiting. Tearfully the woman said: ‘Please help me. I have been
Ø you are a doctor. My child is very sick and I have no money.’

(most refugees leave their countries to come and find a better life elsewhere
especially that the economic situation has become unbearable with no
basic necessities and no medical facilities in their home countries)

Verse 23:

Ø He just ignored the woman and drove past her into the garage. Just then a
Ø neighbor came out encouraging him to send her off. ‘Send her away, she
Ø is just making a nuisance of herself. They are all the same’

Verse 24:

Ø He said to the woman. ‘There are many of our own people who have need
Ø For help’

Verse 25:

Ø But she persisted and cried bitterly, a cry that could arouse any pity. ‘Please help me’

Verse 26:

Ø He answered: ‘it is not fair to give to you people what is meant for our own people’

It is common knowledge that immigrant are were looked down upon
They were often accused of being thieves. They had to come by with
whatever is available, so she did not argue)?

Verse 27:

Ø She responded with great humility: ‘Yes what you say is true. It is not right to take what is meant for your people and give it to us but even we need to survive and right now it is the health of my only child.’

Verse 28:

Ø Then he said to her: ‘You have moved me, come into the house so that I can look at the child.’ And the woman went with him into the house.

(the leader may choose any appropriate song)

Closing Prayer:
The Lord’s Prayer.
Sermon Text: Mark 10:13-16

Instructions: Get children to do a sketch of a scene where children are desperately trying to get to Jesus, but older people are preventing them.


The HIV/AIDS pandemic has impacted negatively on the well-being of children in Africa. As parents and guardians have died, the number of orphans, vulnerable children and child-headed households has increased. The reality of parent to child transmission has also meant that some children are born HIV positive. While childhood used to be a period of much vitality and laughter, this is sadly no longer true for many children in Africa.

Age based discrimination should be a key theme for the church in Africa. The girl child in particular faces the threat of rape as some infected male adults believe that sex with a virgin can revitalize them. Economic exploitation, the stigma of being labeled AIDS orphans, trauma and other factors weigh heavily on the children of Africa. The challenge for the church is how to allow children to accept Jesus’ open invitation to them in the era of HIV/AIDS.
1. We listen to the Word of God

The text shows how adults prevent children from associating with Jesus. While his disciples regard children as a nuisance, Jesus is quite open and welcoming towards the little ones. The children in the story are keen to have an encounter with Jesus and are inquisitive. In the context of HIV/AIDS, this need for faith and information is of utmost importance. There is also need to interrogate the question of how our societies could welcome children in the manner that Jesus did. Their forgiving quality is also important in dealing with HIV/AIDS issues.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· Children require knowledge in HIV/AIDS contexts
· Age-based discrimination should be resisted
· Jesus welcomes children with open arms
· HIV/AIDS threatens the well being of children, eg. child-headed households
· Adults need to be transformed and become like children-sincere and innocent-if they are to attain abundant life.


· Sexual abuse of children in our families
· Silence and misinformation of children
· Endangering children in child marriages
· Abandoning care of children entirely to hired help
· Exposing children through parent to child transmission of HIV.


· Churches and organizations that promote the welfare of children
· Children continue to forgive and embrace despite their abuse
· The gift of children
· Churches that run day care center, feeding and counseling centers.


· The suffering of children to be eliminated
· Orphans and vulnerable children receive education
· People should give generously towards the support of children
· The church should take children’s ministry seriously.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

Let children have the platform to express their fears and concerns in an era of HIV/AIDS.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

Governments should enact and enforce laws that protect the rights of children. The church and the media have an important role in disseminating information concerning HIV/AIDS to children. In addition, child sexual rape, pornography and other harmful trends should be severely punished. Society ought to become more child friendly so that children can enjoy their formative years.


Any local chorus that celebrates children
“We Are the World,” by USA for Africa (1986)


Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
We commend the little ones to you.
You love them.
You shed your blood for them.
You taught us to value them.
Give us wisdom as we bring them up.
Let them grow into your faithful servants.
Abolish systems that choke them.
Heal their hurts.
Bring laughter into their joyful hearts.
Forgive us for denying them attention.
Empower us to recognize their significance.
In your precious name we pray. Amen.

Suggested objects/symbols/ideas
: Doves; painting of Jesus surrounded by children and playing with them, drawings by children, dolls, toys, a cradle, cloth used to tie a baby behind/back.

Sermon Text: Genesis 18: 1-15

Call to prayer: Proverbs 4: 5 –9

Get wisdom, get understanding
Do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
Love her, and she will watch over you
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
Embrace her, and she will honour you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head
And present you with a crown of splendour.

: (Chichewa)

Ndinutu olemekezeka//Your worth of praise
Ndinutu opambana//Your victorious)
Nthawizonse//All the time
Thawizonse simudzatisiya//All the time you will never leave us or forsake us
All: Ena atama magaleta//Some trust in chariots
Ena akavalo//Some in horses
Koma ine//But me
Koma ine ndidzatama dzina//But I will praise the name
A Popular Malawian Chorus


There is an African proverb, which says that age comes with wisdom. This proverb encourages the community to treat elderly people with respect because of their wisdom that was accumulated over years through experience. However, in the era of HIV/AIDS, there are a lot of assumptions that are wrong and lead to the discrimination of old people in many ways. It is assumed that old people are responsible for taking care of their children when they have AIDS. Yet they do not get information about HIV/AIDS. They take on the responsibility of caregivers without financial backing or physical strength to take care of the sick or orphans. As a result they get infected with HIV, through care giving. Most of the African cultural practices and beliefs assume that once women have reached menopause, they are no longer sexually active. Such assumptions discriminate against elderly people. What does God say about the sexual activities and right of elderly people?

1. We listen to the Word of God

The leader or any member of the congregation can read Genesis18: 1-15. This passage can also be dramatized.

This passage is about the visit of three angelic beings to Abraham’s’ house, the hospitality of Abraham to the visitors and the promise that Abraham’s’ wife, Sarah was going to have a baby boy.

Ø Three men visited Abraham. He identifies one of them as the Lord. The other two must have been angelic beings. Abraham considers himself as a servant of the visitors.

Ø Abraham begged the three men to stay and share a meal. He feels honored when they accepted his invitation. He then treated the visitors to a middle Eastern style of hospitality and food, which was his tradition.

Ø The message of the angels is that Sarah is going to have a son even through he has reached menopause, because nothing is too difficult for the Lord.

Ø Sarah found their message difficult to believe because of her age. But she is reminded that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· That the Lord does not discriminate against elderly people. Although child birth is associated with young, people, God is able to disregard biological rules and cause Sarah to have the pleasure of giving birth to a child
· In order for Abraham and Sarah to have a child in their old age, God expected them to still have and enjoy their sexual relationship
· God expects us to believe God’s word and act on faith
· That God keeps promises regardless natural laws
· That the elderly people do have a sexual life.


· We have allowed our cultural beliefs and practices to deny elderly people sexual pleasure
· We have operated on wrong assumptions and denied elderly people information about HIV
· We have expected elderly people to be care givers for AIDS patients and orphans without supporting them with resources
· We have exposed elderly people to the danger of contracting HIV by not equipping them with information and yet expect them to be primary caregivers.

· Forgiveness for abusing elderly people through our actions of discrimination
· Protection of elderly people from HIV infection
· Financial support for elderly people who are nursing the HIV infected patients and orphans
· Strength and good health for elderly people as they look after AIDS patients and orphans.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation


· Ashamed for abusing elderly people, who are our own parents and grand parents.
· Repentant for not giving elderly people information about HIV/AIDS and thereby contributed towards their death through AIDS, and stress.
· Sad that we have contributed towards denying elderly people sexual pleasure with their spouses.


· a supporting community for elderly people
· a teaching community to elderly people about HIV/AIDS
· Caring community for elderly people by organizing them several activities that would dispel lonely and promote community activities
· Give support to grand parents caring for more orphans.


· Organize HIV/AIDS lessons for elderly people
· Give elderly people opportunities to acquire skills for entrepreneurship so that they can still be financially provided for in their old age
· Organize seminars that affirm the celebration of sexuality among elderly couples
· Involve elderly people in church activities
· Provide relief for elderly people who are caregivers of AIDS patients and orphans by giving them church raised love offerings
· Provide homework help for orphans under their case.

4. Conclusion: Word of God for the Society

In our society today, we have the sick people, those suffering from HIV/AIDS and the elderly people, whom we unfortunately discriminate even in the church. This discrimination against elderly people is ungodly and must not be practiced by Christians. It grieves God’s heart. The elderly need to be given information about HIV/AIDS. Their sexuality needs to be affirmed as right and acceptable before God. Since they are responsible for taking care of the AIDS patients and orphans, they still need financial support from other members of the extended family, the church and the state.

Forgive us Lord, for ignoring the needs of elderly people.

In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer

Give us wisdom to plan how best to help elderly people who are overburdened with care giving of AIDS patients and orphans.

In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer


(The leader to choose a relevant song).

May the Lord keep all of us until all our hairs are grey and until we walk with a third leg.

Testimonies of elderly people about care giving to AIDS and orphans, traditional storytelling.

6. Services on National Injustice
Sermon Text Luke 4:16-22


The continent of Africa is rich in primary resources. However, looting by some African leaders and their partners abroad has resulted in the continent becoming hopelessly poor. National corruption undermines efforts to fight HIV/AIDS as valuable resources are lost through such processes. Furthermore, national corruption results in the neglect of the poor, who are most vulnerable to HIV infection. Health and educational service suffer much neglect at the hands of corrupt and selfish leaders.

The church has an important prophetic function in the era of HIV/AIDS. It should be at the front line in demanding that African governments channel resources towards health services and the acquisition of drugs. In many African countries, funds are used in the construction of status symbols such as unnecessary expensive airports or soccer fields ahead of more pressing issues in the area of health. In its preferential option for the poor, the church should be seen marching shoulder to shoulder with the infected and affected by national and international corruption.

1. We listen to the Word of God

The passage is very clear that God is on the side of the oppressed. In the context of HIV/AIDS, these are the most vulnerable members of society. HIV/AIDS thrives in situations of poverty, and Christ declares that HIV/AIDS is an oppressive force. Furthermore, the passage proclaims freedom to those who heave under stifling systems. Women, children, displaced persons, prisoners and others who are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS should be empowered by this text.

2. We apply the Word of God to ourselves


· HIV/AIDS is oppressive and should be tackled with passion
· People Living With HIV/AIDS require solidarity
· The church should fight national corruption so that more people can access medical attention
· That the healing is God’s will for all
· That Jesus took a stand against all forms of oppression.


· Failure to fulfill the prophetic role in HIV/AIDS contexts
· Being co-opted by the ruling elite
· Being paralyzed by fear and frustration.


· Some church leaders have fought for the rights of PLWHA’s
· Some government leaders have resisted national corruption
· Citizens who demand good governance and the observance of the rule of law
· That the gospel gives the church a mandate to fight injustice.


· Courage to fight national and international corruption
· Prophetic vision to support PLWHA’s and fight injustice
· Church effort to identify with the poor.

3. We apply the Word of God to the congregation

· Use a participatory session dealing with the following issues:
· Why does the church often simply look on when national resources are being looted?
· What are some of the pressing needs for PLWHA?
· What is the church doing to support the vulnerable?
· What is the church to ensure that healing is for all.

4. Conclusion: Word on the Society

Leaders of organizations leading the fight against HIV/AIDS have sometimes been implicated in the embezzlement of funds meant for PLWHA’s. In some instances, flashy cars have been bought, instead of supporting orphans and vulnerable children. It is important that leaders resist corrupt tendencies if the fight against the disease is to be won. Commitment towards the poor and disadvantaged members of society should guide all those who are central to this struggle. Above all, we should ask ourselves how HIV/AIDS can be brought to directly benefit the infected and affected than some few individuals running NGO’s etc.


Ndasunungurwa tenda Ishe (x2)
Ndakanga ndakasungwa nemasimba aSatani
Ndasunungurwa tenda Ishe

I have been freed
Praise the Lord (x2)
I had been held captive by the devil’s powers
I have been delivered, praise the Lord (x2)
(Popular chorus)


God of liberation and justice,
Defender of the poor and marginalized,
We seek your guidance.
Give us the vision and confidence,
To become prophets when resources are looted.
Let us hear the cry of the widows.
Let us feed the orphans.
Let us denounce injustice by the powerful.
May we demand drugs for the sick.
May we demand care for the abandoned.
May we denounce wastefulness by the affluent.
Forgive our silence.
Forgive our complicity.
In your mercy, forgive our condemnation of PLWHA’s
Forgive us when deal lightly with the wound of your people.
Forgive the times when we have offered artificial solutions.
Empower us to tackle corrupt systems.
Make us instruments of your peace.
Make us agents of transformation.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Suggested objects/object/symbols
: Sackcloth (message of judgment), blood-dripping cloths (indicating the blood of the poor); wooden cross (Christ paid the price of suffering already), setting on the ashes, (to signify mourning and protest), read newspapers that highlight the abuse of public funds.

7. Services on International Injustice
Sermon Text: Exodus 3:1 – 12


At the beginning of the 21st century an international movement called the Jubilee movement came into being. This movement was a coalition of different groups such as the World Council of Churches, Oxfam, Christian Aid, and many others. This movement sought to address the question of international injustice that exists between countries in the north and those in the so-called third world. Much of this international injustice exists because of the policies of global creditors such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The jubilee movement still exists, and continues with its mission, which is to call for the deletion of unpayable debts, which are owed by so-called third world countries to Western economies. This vision of a just world is important for the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is the poor who are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS; they do not have all the information about the epidemic, they do not have the necessary access to antiretroviral drugs nor do they have access to testing programs- they do not have enough food.

1. We listen to the word of God


This is one of the most important ‘lessons’ within the Torah or the Jewish law, which every boy and girl had to learn as part of their up bringing. The narrative was a source for prophetic preaching and it also featured a lot in cultic events.

In the narrative there are two characters who are God and Moses. They are having a conversation, the subject of which is the plight of the Israelites / Hebrews in Egypt. The conversation is quite interesting and it might help for the worship leader to create dialogue between Moses and God and actually dramatize it (see below).

2. We apply the word of God to ourselves and the congregation

In this narrative God is decidedly interested in the plight of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt and wants to rescue them. God identifies a person to be the human agent of the rescue mission or the liberation act. And the scene is now set for the greatest act of divine human partnership in the liberation process.


God continues to be interested in the plight of the people of the world who suffer injustices. Most of these people are in the so – called Third World, and they suffer at the hands of globalizers and the elite in those countries. Many of these people are denied affordable Anti retroviral drugs to delay their death from AIDS, they suffer from cheap labor and see degradation of their environment. Despite these, God says ‘I have seen the misery of my people,’ and invites human agents to partner with God to release them.


We confess that:

· We do not, as churches, always take the side of the oppressed in our countries
· Churches are often not vocal against international injustice
· We often spiritualize the Bible, and as result miss out its message that challenges political structures and institutions.


We thank God for:

· those within and without the Church who fight for economic justice
· for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the hope that it holds for Africa
· for the spirit of renaissance in Africa
· for the African Union and regional economic blocks
· for the jubilee movement and what it seeks to achieve.


· Let us pray:
· Liberator God we acknowledge your majesty

You are Lord of the church and the world

We pray that your justice become known to us,
May your people who live under the yoke of oppression
Experience relief and jubilee in their lives
We pray for those who suffer from the burden of debt
May they come to enjoy freedom from its clutches.

Suggested idea:
Dramatic retelling,

(As Moses approaches the burning bush)

‘Moses’ ‘Moses’
(startled):Ye ……..s! Whose there?’
It’s Me.
“It’s me God”
(Puzzled): God ………. eh ……………. Which God?
I am the God of your ancestors; the God Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God Mandela, Khama, the God of the women and children of Africa who suffer from AIDS.
(afraid): “My goodness gracious! Lord have Mercy!”
: Moses, you are standing on holy ground. If I were you I would take off my shoes!”
Moses takes off his sandals trembling and kneels down
Moses, I have seen the misery of my people in Africa. I have heard them crying because of their taskmasters. Their suffering has greatly concerned me. So I have come to rescue them and to change their land so that it is no longer a land of oppression. So I want to you to go to the World Bank, the IMF, America and Europe and tell them to let my people.
“Yes Moses”
“I mean … Well .. Who am I really to go to these bodies and tell them such news?”
Don’t worry Moses. It’s not like I’ll leave it all to you. I’ll be there with you.


We shall overcome, we shall overcome
We shall overcome someday;
Oh deep in my heart I do believe
We shall overcome some day

We’ll walk hand in hand….

The truth will make us free…

The Lord will see us through…

We shall live in peace…

We shall overcome….
@ Negro Spitual
By Moiseraele P. Dibeela

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