Priest's Perspective

Priests Perspective – Feast of St Anthony

Two significant things today, as I return to work for 2022. It is the feast of St Anthony the founder of the religious life, and the Old Testament reading is Isaiah 40 1-8; calling to make straight the paths of the Lord. These opening lines of Trito Isaiah are a calling us to look to the future and the coming of Jesus as the saviour of the world, and end to Exile and hopelessness. It would be a long, long time till this actually happened but, as Christians, we are called to live in the hope of salvation and deliverance and speak that hope into the world even while the world still languishes in darkness. this is the calling to the religious life, a way of living in hope, trusting God and being fully devoted to Him.

I just read that the State of Disaster has been extended another month in South Africa which means that the Command Council can still pass regulations in an extraordinary fashion. Despite our desire for this season of Corona Virus to be over, it is still very much with us. Omnicron may not be as severe as previous variants, but it is still debilitating and can be recurring. Many people are still suffering the ill effects of contracting the virus.

And so we are called to perseverance. We are called to Hope. Scripture implores us to not tire of doing good ( Gal 6:9) but to dedicate ourselves to the work of disciples. Disciples of Jesus’s love, hope, peace and joy. Today’s Gospel is Mark 10: 17-21 which is the story of the Rich young man. It is this text that St Francis took literally and gave away all his earthly wealth and status and imitated the life of Christ. The question for us is, what do we need to “set aside” in our lives to be more devoted to and centred on Christ? What do we need to clear from our minds, our desires and our aims and objectives for life, that stands in the way of God having control and setting the direction of our lives?

I am so encouraged by the words of Jesus who says ” with humankind this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Mark 10:27.

As I dive into ministry for 2022 there are many things that I have no idea how I am going to overcome.  The challenges are great. But God reminds us today that He is in control, we can trust him. When we trust in our own abilities, desires, success, we will fall short. When we set our own agenda’s and plans, we will fail. But when we submit to the will of God, when we allow ourselves to be used for His purposes, then we will attain real life.

How wonderful it is to know that our success on earth is not in the wealth and status of this world, but in the “Life of Christ.”

Today I submit myself again to be used by Christ for His purposes.

Our Morning prayer Old Testament ( Gen 8:6-22) continues with this liberating theme – Noah is called to come out of the ark, but he has to wait for the time to be right. He sends out a dove three times. The Dove is a symbol of peace and we are called today to reach out in peace and speak God’s peace over the world, a world submerged in the deep waters of its problems and challenges.  When the Dove returns Noah does not give up he waits, and then sends it again. And when it returns he waits and he sends it again, until the time is right.

Today let us send God’s peace ahead of us, into the world, into every situation you face. Perhaps your peace will return to you, and it will be unsettling, but wait upon the Lord and send it out again, keeping sending keep sowing, make straight the paths, you are a voice calling out in the wilderness of Life, a message of hope, in the turmoil of life.

In the words of Hebrews 4: 14b “let us hold firmly to the hope we profess,  and 16: ” approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

“Comfort ,comfort my people says the Lord” ( Is 40:1) for all things are possible with God ( (Mark 27b). Let us therefore, enter this day with courage and renewed hope and trust in our God.

The God who has called us is faithful and He will not fail us!

Feast of St Anthony.

Church Chatter · In other news.

#MyriverMysea2021

The Creation Care Network of Natal https://www.facebook.com/groups/creationcarenetworkofnatal, from the Anglican Diocese of Natal https://www.facebook.com/lovingcommunities, has come together with parishes to help clean up our rivers on National Clean up day.Today we saw the amazing enthusiasm of our Parishes and Youth, including the Scout, who clean up rivers, lagoons and adjoining fields. You can see the participating parishes below. With some photos and links to videos of the activities. I big shout out the Creation Care Network of Natal team, who worked so hard to put this event together.

Revd Andrew Manning, Jan Wakelin, Guy Caws, Mandisa Darkie Gumada and Yandisa.

Opening message with Fr. Andrew Manning.

https://www.facebook.com/793158585/videos/1279462052491264/

The parishes and Archdeaconries that participated in the event is;

Mvoti archdeacony https://www.facebook.com/MvotiArchdeaconry (All parishes will be planting flowers to beautify their area)

Ethekwini North archdeaconry https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504064553290460 – Blue lagoon.

Ethekwini Central archdeaconry https://www.facebook.com/durbanridge – Addington beach.

All Saints Bellair https://www.facebook.com/allsaintsbellair– Garden of remembrance Hillary.

1st Malvern Scouts https://www.facebook.com/groups/15337233629 – River Plate stream.

St Gabriel’s Wentworth https://www.facebook.com/groups/207724500541 – Cuttings beach.

St Mary’s Kingsburgh & The Good Shepherd Amanzimtoti https://www.facebook.com/StFrancisToti – Toti Lagoon.

1st Amanzimtoti Scouts https://www.facebook.com/groups/1stamanzimtotiscouts – Toti Lagoon.

1st Umbogintwini Scouts https://www.facebook.com/groups/332542630523374 – Toti Lagoon.

1st Howick Cubs & Scouts Group https://www.facebook.com/Scouts-Howick-15442286092159621

Lidgetton Group, at Maplusin Field.

Video Links!

A view of Umlazi Canal at Cuttings Beach with Revd Andrew Manning

https://www.facebook.com/793158585/videos/341887300958650/
https://www.facebook.com/755232773/videos/810984672908475/
From The Rector's Desk

From the Rectors Desk 22 January 2021

“I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.”

(Is 45:19)

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

Each morning we pray: “As we rejoice in the gift of the new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen”

I hope and pray that we are all mindful that each day is a gift and that we are privileged to be able to live it. Our “todays” are filled with trial and tribulation, but these days are not lived in vain. God has made His presence known among us, God has revealed Himself to us through His holy word, through history, through creation, and through personal experiences. In the fleeting changes and the uncertainty of this life we can and should hold onto this one thing; God is here, His Spirit is with us. Therefore, we should seek the Lord with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind.

As part of a worshipping community, we need to ensure that we are more than a people who are simply linked by a name on the Parish roll or by the WhatsApp group. We need to be committed to community building and we do that through praying for each other, and with each other. We have a great tradition of the Daily Offices and they enable us to pray together, even now. We can do this by joining in the daily Zoom Chapel services or using the “Order” that is sent out each day (Daily Office group). By doing this we join a common journey through scripture and unite ourselves together in community. I remind you that prayer requests can be posted on the “Daily Office” group too.

We may not be able to physically gather, but we can spiritually gather! Be assured that those who already do, are praying for you!   Confidential prayer request can also be sent directly to the Rector, and a small intercessory group will attend to those.

I remind you of my earlier message about preparing for Vestry.

Be assured of my prayers.

Rector.

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – 23 November 2020

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

My dear fellow pilgrims in the words of St Paul “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

St Paul was writing to a group of people who were becoming despondent due to the pressures being placed upon them in their Christian walk, and part of his exhortation to them was that they should persevere. He encouraged them to remain faithful to the Gospel that they had received, a Gospel that taught that they were saved by faith and needed to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 5 vs 6b, he wrote “All that matters is faith, expressed through love.”

And so, I wish to encourage you all today to not lose heart. Throughout biblical history we see the people of God overcoming the loss of their way of life and worship, we see exile, plague, pestilence and war, and modern History is no different. But through it all, there is the demand, the calling, the desire of God’s heart: that we, His faithful people will call on His Name and seek the restoration of God’s people. In a world surrounded by confusion, heresy, fake news, propaganda and hopelessness.  In a world that has no solution to its problems of COVID 19, Climate Change, poverty, discrimination, racism, education, we the ambassadors of the Kingdom have great work to do. Throughout the ages, one task that Christians have had is to be faithful and serve God in their circumstances and glorify God from within their trials and challenges.

St Paul teaches us that from within our chains, we can glorify God and witness to Him. Now is the time for us to “not lose heart.”

Like John the Baptist and all the prophets, we need to preach a message of repentance. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  

The Kingdom of God is not a place that we will go to one day, it is the union between God and His Church lived out in the now. As Jesus says in John 15 “I am the vine and you are the branches,” we are to accept that we are rooted in Christ and live in Him and with Him and that through Him we have life. And that life has seasons, in that life we are pruned, and nurtured and bear fruit. In that life, we have growing seasons and seasons of rest and seasons of anticipation and seasons of dying back, but all are filled with hope.

Therefore, today whatever season you find yourself in – do not lose heart, as scripture says, even youths grow faint and weary, but those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31(KJV)).

We wait upon the Lord by being faithful in prayer, by continuing to love our neighbour, by being faithful in our reading of scripture, faithfully participating in the Sacraments, living simply, giving for the work of God and remaining committed to each other and to the Hope that we have in Christ.

We have made participation in the life of the Church possible on every platform that we know, physically and digitally. I encourage you to re-engage. Draw your strength from God, seek Him in all His holiness.

St James said,” you do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2) so I encourage you to send prayer requests to me, so that the intercessory team can pray for you, for again St James writes: Is any one of you sick? you should call the elders of the church to pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous has great power to prevail. (James 5: 14-16).

Be assured of my love and prayers for you.

Choose faith not fear.

Rector.

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – 23 October 2020

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ, on the feast of St James the brother of our Lord.

May I begin by expressing my heartfelt thanks to you all, for your expression of love and support shown me on my Birthday. I was truly humbled by your kindness. I am praying that the old adage applies and that my fifty’s will be years of increasing wisdom as I continue to walk in God’s grace and remain true to my calling as a cleric in the Church of God.

This week I will be on leave, and spending time preparing for my daughter’s wedding which is on the 19th of December. The following week I will be attending a Retreat, and spend time seeking God’s guidance for the time ahead and the advent of the new year to be lived under Christ’s mercy and grace.

Please pray for all our educators and learners who will be having a well deserved and overdue rest this week, and who will return to face the challenge of completing this academic year.

You would have seen by now that we have withdrawn from the Kingsburgh Child and Family Welfare and the team of Kim, Judy, Marjorie and I will be working on a new inhouse (both parishes) Social Responsibility project.

I remind you that we are conducting physical Sunday Eucharist services alternating between the two churches. You may physically attend either Church regardless of which Parish you belong to. The Online services on Zoom and WhatsApp will continue and the Word of God and Sermon be posted to Facebook.  It is fitting on this, the feast of St James the brother of our Lord, that I remind you that Sunday Services are a celebration of our common life and it is critical to our individual and corporate spirituality that you are involved in ministry in some way. As St James said, faith without works is dead.

So too, faith by itself, if it does not result in action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:17-19 BSB)

Therefore, I want to encourage the development of support groups within the parish.

Teachers, business- people, retired people, youth – these peer support groups are essential to develop a Christian response to the challenges of our time as you live out your lives to the glory of God.

Scripture implores us not to tire of doing good, but on our own we will tire, thus let us uphold each other in prayer, draw on each-other’s strengths complement each-other’s weaknesses and build this kingdom together, with and in and through Christ.

Let us hold onto the gift of life and as we share life together let us strive for the common good and together re-build a more just and merciful world.

Be assured of My Prayers

Rector

Feast of St James 2020