Sunday Services

Education Sunday

Please join us for our Physical service at St Marys Anglican Church, 157 Kingsway, in Warner Beach, at 9am on 7 February 2021. Our service will be focused on prayers for anyone in education, for teachers, office staff, educators, and students. Everyone is welcome to join us for the service.

Please remember your masks.
See you all there.

The service will also be available on Facebook Live.

Or you can follow on Zoom.

Education Sunday Eucharist Service
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Meeting ID: 861 4823 7666
Passcode: 603991

Sermon · Sunday Services

Advent Sermon 2

Our first lesson of scripture is from the book of Malachi.

The name Malachi means “my messenger”; and God sent the prophet to bring a message to the people. The temple had just been rebuilt, and the people were trying to get back into a routine of pure and pleasing worship of God. But it wasn’t easy. Like today, there wasn’t much social and political stability. So much had been lost during the years away. There was quite a lot to do, and not much time left for things like prayer, worship and sacrifice. Priests had been offering blemished animals for sacrifice and the people had not been providing tithes enough for maintaining the building or the priests’ salaries.

The people in the times of Malachi and today have been asking questions about the nature of God. How could God be both omnipotent and benevolent when evil continues to thrive in the world? Where is the God of justice when the righteous people are treated unfairly and the wicked go unpunished? So, the prophet Malachi points to the future as the place when God’s justice will prevail, encouraging us to be steadfast in our faith until the day of Christ’s second coming so that we can stand when he appears.

In the gospel of St Luke, we find Zechariah’s song. God has raised up a horn of salvation for us. A horn (as in the horn of an animal) indicates strength. Jesus, the Messiah from the house of David has the power to save. He is the only one who liberates us from all oppression and bondage as well as deliverance from sin. Over the years we have watched disasters unfold on TV or read in news articles – such as planes going down, earthquakes, tsunamis, rape of women and children, terrorist attacks, xenophobic attacks, lack of access to food water and sanitation for humanity and so on. Blame it on the government, or even better blame it on the omnipresent and benevolent God!

And while it’s always tempting to look outside ourselves to look for a reason or for someone to blame when terrible things happen, we need to hear and heed the call to look inward just as much as we look outward especially during the Advent season. The Advent season is so much about looking inward and examining our own hearts as we prepare for Christ’s second coming. But it’s not easy to do an introspection. It’s so much easier to look for someone else to blame. It’s difficult to focus on straightening our own lives, working to change all the old bad habits into better ones and trying to become the kind, loving and generous hearted people that God calls us to be

John’s baptism represented a change of heart, which includes sorrow for sin and determination to lead a holy life. Christ would deliver the repentant person from sin’s penalty by dying on the cross. A voice of one calling in the desert “Prepare the way for the Lord”. Before a king made a journey to a distant country, the roads he would travel were improved. Similarly, preparation for the second coming of the Messiah is made in a moral and spiritual way by John’s ministry which focuses on repentance, forgiveness of sin and the need of a Saviour.

As I was preparing for this sermon, I came across the word ‘’joy’’ several times. It reminded me of the verse in the book of Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength’’. His joy is us. ‘’For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross’’ Hebrews 12:2. The only reason Jesus endured the cross is because of the joy of reconciliation with you and me. The joy of having once again an unbroken relationship with us. The joy of an unbroken fellowship with us. He has found his pearl of great price and our value in his eyes made him able to endure anything, even the cross to have us close to him.

His joy is the fruit of loving righteousness and hating wickedness. “You have loved righteousness and hated inequity, therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with oil of gladness above your fellows” Hebrews 1:9. His joy came from his desire to please the Father and from abiding in Him. His joy was the fruit of obedience and delight in God’s thoughts and ways of unbroken communion and intimacy with him through abiding in him.

His joy came from watching the Father at work; and how wise and amazing He was at what He did. ‘’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

Indeed, the joy of the Lord is our strength. It is because of this joy that he is coming back for us……………He wants to spend eternity with us. How amazing, loving and awesome is our God! So, we need to prepare ourselves for his second coming and be able to say ‘’It is well with my soul” when he appears again.

Despite all the horrific things that are happening, God calls us to bring hope to His people. The season is still Advent, Christ is still coming. We are still waiting, and John is still calling us to prepare ourselves for the good news that Christ the Saviour to save the crooked and broken world.

My prayer is that we may cling to hope, love, joy and peace; and fight against the tides of human nature so that in the day of Christ we may stand pure, refined and blameless before him.


Sermon · Sunday Services

A series on the meaning of Christmas – Advent sermon 1

The Preachers of St Mary’s Anglican Church decided together to share our sermons on the blog, to share our message about the real meaning of Christmas. Today we share the first sermon, that was preached on 2 December 2018.

“There will be signs,” Jesus said.

When I was a child one of the signs I always looked forward to was my Advent calendar. Every year about this time my sister, brother and I were given a new Advent calendar. It was usually a beautiful picture that had a bunch of little numbered doors, one for each day of Advent. Each day we would open a little door on the calendar. Behind the door was a chocolate. Each door we opened was a sign Christmas was getting closer. We were counting down the days. That’s what Advent was about for us back then.

I liked Advent. I liked the way the house looked, the music my parents played, the bowls of snacks set out for guests. Advent was a time of expectation, anticipation, and excitement. Yes, it meant Jesus would be born in Bethlehem but it also meant grandparents, presents, and Santa Clause. I looked forward to the future one day at a time.

Then something happened. Somewhere along the way life got really real and Advent changed. Advent was no longer just the season before Christmas, a countdown. Instead it began to describe the reality of life and the world. The gospel texts about the destruction of the temple, war, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and betrayals as written in the previous verses (Luke 21:1-19) took on new and often very personal meanings.

Advent became a season of change, letting go, and looking to a future that was not yet clear or known. I’m not exactly sure when it began or how it happened but I know it did. All the signs were there.

  • It might have been the day my niece died, a world ended, and lives were lost, hers mine, our family. “There will be signs,” Jesus said.
  • It might have been reading the headlines and feeling like my prayers are unable to keep up with the pain and the needs of the world. “There will be signs,” Jesus said.
  • It might have been one too many pictures of another suicide bombing “There will be signs,” Jesus said.
  • It might have been waking up with the world each morning of the past week and wondering,
    • What’s next?
    • Where will it happen?
    • When will it take place?
    • “There will be signs,” Jesus said.

It might have been any one of these, all of them, or a thousand other things just like them. These are just a few of my Advent stories, stories about how my life has been changed and the world as I had known it ended.

What are your Advent stories? I’ll bet you have them. I’ll bet you could tell stories about the day your life was changed and your world ended. I’ll bet you have lived through seasons of change, letting go, and stepping into an uncertain future, maybe even a future you did not want.

I sometimes wish Advent was as simple and easy as opening a little door on the calendar, eating a piece of chocolate, and knowing that Christmas is one day closer. But it’s not. You and I both know the world is not that simple and life is not that easy. Maybe that’s why every year on this day, the First Sunday of Advent, we always hear a gospel text that seems to describe the end of the world and the signs that will accompany that ending.

This is not just a story about Jesus and his disciples. This is your story and my story. We experience it in our lives. We see it in our world. And today the Church declares it to be the good news of Christ.

“There will be signs,” Jesus said. More than ever our world needs to see the signs. The longer I live, the more I see and experience, the more I realize how necessary those signs are. I want to be reminded that the signs are there.

Every Advent story is accompanied by signs. Jesus says if we look we’ll see the signs everywhere; in the sun, the moon, the stars; in the distress among earth’s nations; and in the roaring of the sea and its waves. I can see them today in the pictures of refugees and in the world’s violence. I’ve no doubt you’ve seen the signs too, in your life and in the world. They’re everywhere and they are not hard to spot. They are, however, too easily and quickly misunderstood and misused.

“There will be signs” are words of hope and reassurance but far too often they are heard as words of warning and threat. And when they are, the signs are used to predict a future of impending doom and loss. They become indicators that the world will end and you better shape up or God is going to get you. Our misunderstanding of the signs pushes us further into the darkness and deeper into our fear. Our misuse of the signs blinds us to the coming of the Son of Man with power and great glory.

“There will be signs” are not Jesus’ words of warning and threats. Jesus does not ask us to predict the future. He never says these are the signs that the end of the world has come.

Instead, he says that when we see the signs we are to stand up, raise our heads, and know that help is on the way; our redemption, our healing, our Savior have drawn near.

The signs are not a reason to hang our head in despair or shrink from life. That we can see the signs in our lives and world means that the circumstances we face and the events that happen contain and reveal the promise of Christ’s coming. The signs are our hope and reassurance that God has not abandoned us, that God notices us, that God cares, comes to, and participates in our life’s circumstances.

Jesus’ parable of the fig tree teaches us how to read the signs. The Advent signs are as ordinary and common as a fig tree sprouting leaves. We see the leaves and we know something is happening. Summer is already near. It’s a new season, with new life, new growth, new fruit. That is the promise and good news of the Advent signs. And yet that promise, that good news, is fulfilled not apart from but in and through the reality of our life’s circumstances and our world’s events, no matter how difficult or tragic they may be.

So, what if we looked on our lives and our world and we began to read and understand the signs in our Advent stories as sprouting leaves?

What would we see?

What would it mean?

It would mean that the kingdom of God is near. It would mean we are entering a new season. We would see new life and new growth. We would produce new fruit. We could open the doors of our life with new courage and confidence. We could look on the world with a new sense of compassion and hope. We would be strengthened to do the work God has given us to do.

Yes, the Advent seasons of our lives can be long, difficult, and painful. But we never face those seasons without the signs of hope and reassurance, signs that point to the one who is coming.

How to we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ? We can use today’s Psalm as an example of humble attitude before God. Jesus calls us to pray and Psalm 25 is a good example of a prayer that call us to penitence, a prayer asking for guidance and a prayer for protection, all very much needed in our day.

And in today’s text in Luke, we are called to live lives of vigilance, to live each day as if Jesus may return today.

What would you do differently if you knew Jesus would definitely return today?

Would you be kinder to the people you meet?

Would you be careful not to lose your temper?

Would you go out of your way to help a stranger?

Would you read your Bible more and pray more?

How would your life be different?

This text asks us to question how prepared we are for the return of Jesus, to take stock of our lives, really look at the areas that need work and think about how we could live differently. This text is a call to action, to be expectant, to be prepared.

“There will be signs,” Jesus said.

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In other news. · Sunday Services

Confirmation Service

On 11 November 2018, we will take part in a combined Confirmation Service at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Amanzimtoti from 9am.

There will be no service at St Mary’s on that day, please come and join all the confirmants and Bishop Tsietsi at Good Shepherd.

Please bring a plate of eats. Coffee and tea will be provided.

Yours in Christ