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February 3, 2023
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February 4, 2023

Know Your Faith: Evidence of synod themes in the Bible

By Kaelanne Jordan

Building community, inclusivity and dialogue is a call that is not “strange” or “foreign” to the Bible.

In fact, there are Old Testament and New Testament approaches to this concept, said Fr Eliaza Mulemba CSSp in his talk for the first instalment of the Know Your Faith series 2023.

Fr Mulemba’s presentation was titled ‘Building Community, Inclusivity and Dialogue – Old and New Testament approaches.’ He explored the Old Testament approaches, Part One, January 30. Part Two, New Testament approaches continues February 6.

Fr Mulemba highlighted that it is in the Israelites relationship with God and God’s people that we discover how community was built, how inclusivity was “seriously considered” and how dialogue runs through all the books of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament provides the language of inclusivity. He gave the example in Genesis 1:26: “let us….” Referring to this, Fr Mulemba emphasised that any effort to build community, inclusivity and dialogue should adopt and incarnate this language of “let us,” “our”, “we will”.

It is in this style that ultimately accelerates communication. God kept constant communication with His creation. According to Fr Mulemba, constant communication runs through all the books of the Old Testament, but “most vividly” in the books of the prophets.

The prophets, he said, played a crucial role in the constant communication between God and His people. At times, through the prophets, God would call the people into dialogue. In Isaiah 1:18 God said, “Come now, and let us reason together.”

“This is an invitation to God’s people. So, we see that these give us a proper perspective in talking about building community, inclusivity, and dialogue. And here is a willingness to be able to communicate. One would want to call the Old Testament as a library of communication between God and God’s people,” Fr Mulemba said.

Communication builds community and peace. Fr Mulemba underscored that the Israelites, in their communication with God, developed a strong sense of being ‘a people’ belonging to one God. This gave them a sense of identity.

“Identifying themselves with this one God formed them into a community with laws stipulating how they were to relate with God and with one another. For instance, through the prophet Moses, God communicated the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17/Deuteronomy 5:6–21) making them a community.”

Responding to the question of how best faithful can concretely improve communication in church communities, Fr Mulemba identified while as church, there exists many means to communicate: WhatsApp, church notices, communication is much more effective when it is personal and if all persons are considered in that communication process.

Photo by Rachel Strong on Unsplash