It’s almost here! We are but 31 days away from kickoff! For many of us, our favorite time of the year is quickly approaching. It means cooler weather, cooking hamburgers and hotdogs over a bed of coals, and…
Saturdays in the South, especially throughout the fall are know for one thing…FOOTBALL! (SEC specifically… cough* cough*)
Saturdays in South Africa, however, are known for something much different. As much as Saturdays in the United States are known for football, Saturdays in South Africa are known for their FUNERALS.
During the days leading up to a funeral, elders will have been in constant communication with ancestral spirits, preparing the way for the deceased to be accepted into the beyond when his spirit arrives there. Early on the day of the funeral, an ox (or a smaller animal, depending on the importance of the person) is slaughtered as a sacrifice for the umkhapho ritual. The ritual is intended to help the spirit to the beyond so the deceased can return as an ancestral spirit later to be worshipped.
The Xhosa believe that if they are faithful in animal sacrifices, and worship of their ancestors, they will never do without. They believe they will always have their needs met, their health will be good, and that one day, they too will be worshipped as their ancestors. This is the Xhosa hope of eternity!
However, you and I KNOW… “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
I would ask each of you to continue to pray for the Underwood family as we raise our support to get to the field. Our urgency to reach the Xhosa people with the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been greater. Every week, Saturday rolls around, the funerals come, sacrifices are made, and folks slip into eternity, lost without Christ. Would you ask God what He would like you to do to be involved in reaching the Xhosa people with the gospel of Jesus Christ?!
Stephen, Ashlee, Peyton, and Eli Underwood