This week, we bring you a prayer in Afrikaans from Connie Jood, one of MCC’s Regional Peace Network associates in South Africa and part of South Africa’s Anglican church. She stresses that in her tradition Lent is a time for fasting and prayer. “Fasting for us is giving up some pleasures (e.g sweets) and giving the money to the church. We extinguish a candle every week to remind us how our sin puts us in darkness. We are encouraged to pray more, drawing close to God,” she says.
A three-hour service on the Thursday before Good Friday, Maundy Thursday, includes foot washing. “On Good Friday when we leave, the church is in total darkness and the altar is bare. Then Easter Sunday comes, with the lighting of the Easter candle: Christ our Light is risen.”
Read her prayer in English and then below in Afrikaans, the third most widely spoken language in South Africa. (Look below the prayer to learn more about Afrikaans.)
The prayer in English:
Lord, to you do we turn our eyes during this Lent. Guide us through this wilderness of pain and loss. We invite you on this journey of self-examination, so that we can finally be reconciled to you. You are the light in our lives. Guide us by your Spirit.
The prayer in Afrikaans:
Heer tot u alleen hef ons ons oe, hierdie vastyd "Lent" Lei ons deur hierdie woestyn van pyn en verlies. Ons nooi u om die reis van selfondersoek met ons mee te maak, sodat ons uiteindelik weer tot u versoen sal wees. U is die lig in ons lewe. Lei ons deur u Gees.
A note about Afrikaans, from James Alty, of Howden, Manitoba, MCC representative for South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland:
Afrikaans, now spoken by South Africans of many racial backgrounds, developed from the Dutch spoken by the first European settlers when it combined with other languages, including the language of the Khoikhoi people already living in South Africa. The region’s diverse population, which also included slaves that settlers brought to this land from Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar and West Africa, all needed to communicate with each other, and the common language, Afrikaans, was a modified version of Dutch, with many words from the other languages. It developed further as French-speaking, Huguenot settlers added words and altered the sound of other words.