The fragility of South Africa was showcased in all its grandeur, thanks to a virus making its way across the ocean. We got to witness an already failing system get pulverised, with us citizens being the unfortunate souls who have to bear the burden placed upon our beloved country.
But in these trying times, as the old saying goes, “there are no atheists in a fox hole”. People of all religious denominations have found comfort in their respective faiths, and through peace, community, support and compassion thereof, have been able to overcome all 2020 has thrown at them.
In light of this, the Newcastillian – Online News asked the Satanic, Christian, Pagan, and Hindu faiths to share some words of solace as we begin to close off the year. This is what they have to say:
Adri Norton, the spokesperson for the SA Satanic Church, begins by stating, “In 2020 we have all had to live through unusual circumstances. However, it has allowed us time to reflect, grow and essentially expand as human beings.”
Growing as individuals, Norton stresses that 2021 is a time we can use to apply all we have learned in 2020. She elaborates by saying, “Going into 2021, I believe we are all stronger and grateful to 2020 for teaching us all, that in unusual circumstances we grow and learn the most about ourselves and others.”
This she points out; provides the ideal opportunity to be stronger as individuals and as a people. Furthermore, Norton emphasises the importance of unity for the upcoming year. “2021 is the year for us all to stand together more and learn more from each other, so we can understand each other better and build a brighter more inclusive, South Africa, for all.”
In preparation for the new year, Pastor Thomas Beneke of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation reflects on everything we as a country have experienced.
He says, “As we approach the end of the year, especially this year, we have the opportunity to reflect on the finite nature of our lives, the end of time and history.”
Pondering thoughtfully on the situation, Pastor Beneke points out “The North-African Church Father Augustin has the following to say on the subject from 17 centuries ago: ‘God has hidden the last day from us so that we would honour every day.’ May God grant us the wisdom to receive each day as a gift from His hand and live it so that we do not have to fear the end.”
Offering some insight from the older religions is Francisco Fumarola, an executive member of South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) who adds, “In my personal philosophy moulded by Germanic Paganism, the old cliché of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” really does apply. 2020 has been a hard year for everyone, perhaps there are more difficult days ahead, but ultimately, we are tempered, tested and strengthened by adversity. We emerge stronger; we develop new methods of coping, we find new ways – all of this is reflected by the rune of Need and Necessity, Nauthiz.”
He adds, “The Anglo-Saxon poem for the N-rune states: “Need is a constraint upon the chest. But often, to the children of men, it becomes a help, a salvation, nevertheless, if they heed it in time.” Nauthiz provides the friction, which allows us to evolve. We can ultimately use it to strengthen ourselves.”
According to Fumarolo, 2021 will be the year of emerging stronger than before. He concludes, “Keep your focus on your “Joy” and draw your strength therefrom, remember amidst a storm that Joy will also return – you will emerge stronger in the end.”
Avikar Singh of the Sat-Chit-Ananda Temple reminds Newcastillians that Swami Sivananda once said, “Abandon weakness and ideas of impossibilities, cling fast to faith in divine possibilities.”
Encouraging people to cling fast to their belief in the divine, Avikar emphasises that it is paramount to develop unswerving faith during these times, while continually showing appreciation towards the creation and express gratitude for what we have. “Adopt a mind of equanimity and trust the divine plan. God bless you, one and all,” he concludes.
With these leaders offering words of wisdom, what valuable insights in life have you acquired from your experiences in 2020?
Share your thoughts and views with us in the comment section below.
Authors: Quinton Boucher & Calvin Swemmer
Edited Calvin Swemmer