Members of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) walked for peace and justice on Saturday the 19th of September 2015. The event, part of the Pilgrimage for Peace & Justice initiative of the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), was organized by the LECSA Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission. The walk started from the grounds of the Royal Residence at Matsieng and ended at the Thabeng High School sports ground in Morija. The walk, about 9 kilometers in length, was undertaken by around 150-200 church members. Many of those participating were pastors and spouses attending the annual Clergy Retreat in Morija.
The walk was bookended by worship services at Matsieng prior to the walk and at Morija afterwards. At the Matsieng service, LECSA Moderator Rev. Tseliso Simeon Masemene preached from Psalm 124:1-5: “If the Lord had not been on our side…the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us.” Rev. Masemene said that the AACC had called its member churches to take part in the Pilgrimage for Peace, Justice and Human Dignity because the continent is going through devastation of many types, including corruption, poverty, economic injustice and human trafficking. Much of this devastation is the result of conflicts and wars and many innocent people have been abused, tortured and killed.
He then said that even here in Lesotho we are not an exception. Even though the founder of Lesotho, King Moshoeshoe I, was a man of peace and even invited the church to Lesotho, there have been instances of Lesotho experiencing very difficult times. Despite these challenging times, the LECSA has played an important role in maintaining peace in the country. When all other strategies for bringing peace have failed, people look to the church. The church is the last hope for peace and justice. Indeed, without the presence of the church and God’s providential care “…the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us.”
The service at Matsieng also included remarks from the Acting Principal Chief of Matsieng David Masupha Seeiso, uncle to His Majesty King Letsie III and younger brother of the late King Moshoeshoe II. Chief Masupha referred to the Gospel story of the storm on the Sea of Galilee where the boat carrying Jesus and the disciples was swamped by the waters and began to sink. He said Lesotho as a country was in danger of sinking and therefore the church must work very hard to prevent this from happening.
The JPIC Commission is making plans for a much longer 3-day Pilgrimage for Peace & Justice to be held in October in conjunction with the annual Leeto la Thapelo (Journey of Prayer) event in Morija on the 24th – 25th October. Walkers taking part will start in Modderport, South Africa and retrace some of the steps of the French missionaries who came to Lesotho in 1833. The walkers will arrive in Morija on Saturday the 24th of October.