Daily Prayer Diary · Prayers & Collects

7th Sunday of Easter – Daily Reading – 24 May 2020

7th Sunday of Easter
Anglican Communion Sunday

Collect for the day: 🙏
Triune God,
Jesus prayed that we might be one:
help us to transcend our differences
and find our unity in Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

During a Vacancy in a Diocese/ Pastoral Charge: 🙏
God our Father the giver of every good gift graciously regard the needs of your Church and guide with your heavenly wisdom the minds of those responsible for choosing a bishop for this Diocese: send us a faithful pastor to feed Your flock and lead us into the way of holiness; through Jesus our Lord. AMEN.

Prayers for use during the Coronavirus Outbreak:🙏
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of Your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in Your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us
from Your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for You.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and Your love,
for Your name’s sake.

God bless Africa
Protect our children
Transform our leaders,
Heal our Communities,
Restore our dignity and
Grant us peace,
For Jesus Christ’s sake.

Daily Reading:📖

Principal Readings
Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
John 17:1-11

Morning Prayer
Psalm 110
Exodus 3:1-12
Hebrews 12:18-29

Evening Prayer
Psalm 118:1-18
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 17:11-19

Diocesan Prayer Diary:
Parish of Ekubonakalisweni, Osizweni: Mlungisi Hadebe, Thulisile Hlatshwayo.
Retired Clergy Jonathan & Marion Draper.
The Anglican Communion: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, and all primates and bishops; members of the Anglican Consultative Council; the Secretary General, The Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon; the staff at the Anglican Communion Office in London and the UN offices in Geneva and New York.

Pray for:🙏
Ashley, Caren, Cruz & Reese Davids / Willy &Yvonne Dunn

Owen Bothma, Millicent Mapirwe


#StFrancisToti #StMarysKingsburgh #TheGoodShepherd


If Easter is true!

Homily – Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35

Somewhere I recall a theologian who said that one reason why people find it difficult to believe in Easter, to have faith that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true. Is that if the resurrection is true, then their lives would have to change! That seems to be the overriding problem for all of us, we do not want to change. We would be living in a whole new world and would have to adjust our lives accordingly, if Easter is true.

Christians believe that Easter is true. We believe that God, in an amazing act of divine vindication, raised the crucified Jesus from the dead. In so doing God definitively acted in the world, God revealed who God really is and what God is really up to in the world.

God – Three In One – is the one who wins victories through suffering, who lifts up the downtrodden and the oppressed, who will not allow the victims of evil and injustice ultimately to be crushed. In the end, no matter what evil is done, God will get God’s way with the world. Easter is true.

And if Easter is true, as we believe it to be, how then should we live? That is the question before us this Third Sunday of Easter. Appropriately, all of this Sunday’s lessons show believers attempting to adjust themselves to the fact that Easter is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking on behalf of Memphis garbage workers the night before he was assassinated, declared:

“It’s all right to talk about long robes over yonder, in all of its symbolism, but ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here.

It’s all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey, but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day.

It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis.”

Easter is more than simply “Jesus has been raised from the dead, so now we will get to see our loved ones when we die.” Easter is about a whole new world, not some day, but today. Not somewhere in eternity, but now. Of course, that whole new world is not completely here, not in its fullness. But it sure is on the way.

That vision enabled Martin Luther King to keep working, keep marching, and not lose hope. It is the vision of Easter, the vision that is the most powerful motivation for Christian action in this world. We know a secret about the world and the direction in which the world is moving – Jesus Christ is risen! He has risen indeed.

In Acts 2, Peter, questioned by a mocking crowd after the Spirit’s descent at Pentecost, responds with a short sermon. This Jesus “whom you crucified” has now been shown, through the resurrection, to be “both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36). Quickly the crowd gets the point. Upon hearing of the resurrection, they respond, “What should we do?” Peter tells them to repent, be baptized, and they too will receive the Holy Spirit, “for the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away” (2:39).

If Easter is true, it is a whole new world in which those who were once, in their sin, far from God, are brought near, gifted with the Holy Spirit, promised a share in God’s Reign. Easter is an invitation to exchange citizenship and join up in that new reign.

A couple of Sundays ago, when we (via St Francis Chapel) proclaimed, “Jesus Christ is risen, he has risen indeed!” you responded with “Alleluia,” with praise and thanksgiving, and that’s right!

But if Easter is true, then it is also appropriate to ask, “What should we do now?” now that Easter is true. This is the very same question we are asking ourselves during our time in lockdown. What should we do now? How can we help now? We are in lockdown!

First, Peter proclaims to a struggling early congregation that in the resurrection Jesus is “revealed at the end of the ages for your sake” so that “you were ransomed” (1 Pet 1:18, 20). Easter is true!

Then, “love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew . . .” It’s like the resurrection of Jesus is new birth for all of us old, dying sinners, so that we are made into different kinds of people who are able now to love one another “from the heart,” if Easter is true.

And then today’s Gospel we find this wonderful story of the walk to Emmaus. They did not know the stranger who walked with them on the road, who opened the scriptures to them? The women had run back from the cemetery, saying that Jesus had been raised, but they did not believe the testimony of the women. That is, they did not know that Easter was true.

Then, at the table that evening, when Jesus broke the bread, their eyes were opened, and they saw the Lord. They ran all the way back to Jerusalem saying, “the Lord has risen indeed” (Lk 24:34). Easter is true.

They thought that the Jesus Movement had ended; no, it was just beginning. They thought that night was coming when it was really the dawn of a new day. Easter is true.

Easter is true. Of course, that is what Christians believe. But if Easter is true, how then should we live? As Christians, we conduct ourselves as if we did not really understand the implications of following a living, present, active God.

In what ways do we Christians worship and work in such a way that, while we say we believe that Jesus Christ is risen, present, and alive, but act as if he were not. If we pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” then we will want to work to arrange the world to resemble as closely that world in which we fully expect to inhabit in eternity. We want the world here, today, to look very much like the world we long to inhabit for an inestimably long period of time. Our final destiny, the goal of it all, where our world is heading is subsumed in a word, “heaven.” Eternity, according to John’s Gospel, and maybe the other Gospels as well, begins now. Or as Catherine of Sienna put it, “all the way to heaven is heaven.”

If Easter is true then it means that Jesus Christ is not just a wonderful teacher, an inspiring person, a notable historical figure. Jesus Christ is none other than the full revelation of God. He is Messiah! Now, we know who God is, what God looks like, what God wills for us and the world, if Easter is true.

If Easter is true, then never again are we permitted ever to lose heart, to despair, to give up. When God transformed the evil, bloody crucifixion into a grand triumph, well, who knows what God can do with our setbacks, dead ends, failures, and frustrations? No place is beyond the reach of God’s redeeming grace if Easter is true.

If Easter is true, then it is a lie that death is the last word, the final act, the end.

If Easter is true, then it is not over until God says it is over.

If Easter is true, then our end is really our beginning. At the end, when this life is over, we are given not oblivion, darkness, and despair but a future, a new birth, a new beginning, if Easter is true.

If Easter is true, then we are not left alone. The Risen Christ came back to the very disciples who disappointed and betrayed him. The Risen Christ gathered these depressed, despairing, and bereft individuals and formed them into a new family, a new community, the new Church. We, who are taught by our culture to think of ourselves as competitive, lonely, contentious individuals, each looking after ourselves, each seeking our own self-interest, we are the church, the “body of Christ, “the visible presence of the risen Christ in the world, if Easter is true.

If Easter is true, then you do not have to climb up to God, you do not have to think hard and go through all sorts of mental gymnastics in order to be close to God. In bread and wine, God comes close to you. You go to church on a Sunday morning, thinking that you are getting up, getting dressed, and coming to church to seek God only to be surprised that here, in worship with fellow Christians, in the Lord’s body and blood, in the singing and scripture reading, maybe even in the sermon, the resurrected, living Christ is reaching out to you, if Easter is true.

What we have learned during the lockdown, that God reaches us in all ways and manners, not just in the church buildings. God reaches us, in our WhatsApp groups, Facebook posts, zoom meeting etc. We do not need to meet physically, to enjoy the presence of God. Peter spoke to a new church, a new way of worshipping the Lord, that was different to the “normal” people was used to. We need to embrace the new; we need to embrace the change. God is reaching out to us, in this new Resurrection of the Church. Hear the groaning of people, as we experience the new birth of the new way of being Church.

Easter is true! How then shall we live? Are you open to the changes that God is bringing to us through this crisis?

-Vanda Chittenden

From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – Second Tuesday in Eastertide – 21 April 2020

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!

This week I am going to share with you some ideas to assist you to adjust your mindset and deal with the reality of the situation that is not a temporary pause, but a long term adjustment to the way that we live in the world.

Communication is no easy task. As we start making plans for the future, it is difficult to keep everyone in the loop, while we evaluate different scenarios and work out new ways of doing things. In whatever we do, how people respond to the plans and work with or against them will determine their success or failure, and not the brilliance of the plan. I really empathize with Government and the task ahead, when I think about how small a task our reorganizing of Church is, in comparison. However, the issues are exactly the same for the nation for the Organization and for the family unit. How will we pay for it? How will we get people to change behaviour, how will we lead people in a crisis when we were struggling with a sense of normality? Human nature resists change no matter what it is and so adjusting to the circumstances of this worldwide crisis is difficult.

Our human minds are strange. If I said that I had climbed Everest and wanted to share some life lessons with you, you’d be impressed. But would it work to tell a group of climbers that I had some life lessons that could help them climb Everest? We are good at learning from sports analogies and conquests, but do we learn as much and acknowledge it in our daily lives. This situation that we find ourselves in might not be as glamorous as Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro -but it is your mountain to climb. Climbers will tell you how the physical aspects are not the hard part, it is the mind, that you have to be overcome. Fatigue is more a state of mind than a physical issue.

But there is something that we can apply from our friends the climbers. Recently I was climbing with my boys, I don’t even think there is a grade for the little rock we were on, but any rock face, is a challenge that you have to apply yourself to fully, no matter the level of  difficulty. The lesson that we were working on was that you must climb from a position of comfort, if you are not confident in your stance then you will not be able to move on. And once you are comfortable the next obstacle seems less intimidating. Like the climbers of Everest who go up and come back down to acclimatize, we need to find ourselves where we are and find a level of certainty, before we can think of moving on.

So how do we find ourselves how do we get comfortable in #Lockdown so that we can prepare to move forward. I share here three things that we need to attend to. Fatigue, Exercise and choosing what you listen to.

Are you tired? If more sleep is what you need, get it. Worry is an exhausting task and one that fatigue will not help you overcome. Get enough rest.

Get enough exercise, even simple stretching is a valuable start. Stand up and stretch and bend your knees and get the circulation going. Find a guide and make sure you are getting exercise.

Who are you listening to? There is just so much news and opinion and noise out there. By now you should have decided which news station to listen to, and when. Don’t watch very news broadcast, don’t flip through the channels to see what’s most interesting or alarming. Choose your trustworthy companions and stick with them. Let them deal with the noise and the clutter and refine what you need to know. If you are worried that you are getting a biased view, choose one other outlet and every now and then check in with them. A good idea is to follow a different source on your different platforms, but don’t confuse yourself. Find a consistent solid news source and don’t overburden yourself with information.

There is a cycle of events that we must go through to deal with crisis and it is similar to that of the stages of grief. You will probably find yourself at the “bargaining phase “now. Just wishing you could get back to a normal income earning life with social interaction and you are willing to make some compromises to achieve that. Think carefully about what you are prepared to compromise, do without, do differently. It is these emotions and thoughts that you will need to work through to build a new you, in a new world.

If you have never journaled before there is no time like the present to start. Your thoughts are going to have changed and you are on unfamiliar territory. Journaling helps you to work through the uncertainty.

We are entering a new phase of the crisis cycle and it comes with a lot of uncertainty and challenge. We need to approach with our minds alert and be open to change. This is what is means to trust God. To open ourselves to experience the journey and not run away from it.

Be assured of my prayers!


COVID-19 · From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – Friday in Easter Week – 17 April 2020

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!

It’s Friday in Easter week and we have made it through another week of Lockdown and the uncertainty of the future is growing daily. This morning when I awoke I read the Archbishop’s Blog https://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/2020/04/archbishops-eastertide-news-reflections_16.html  and it was speaking about all the things that I had on my mind, even down to referring to the Benedictine Rule of work, prayer and play; which was on my mind and was the subject of our Lenten Retreat this year. You can read the full article on our website.

But he and I wish to speak today about your Mental health. When I phoned one of the parishioners this week he said” spiritually I am fine, but emotionally I’m struggling.”

It is easy for us to get into this space when we know that God is in control and that all will work out in the end, but we are not sure how we are going to endure what lies between the problem and the solution.

I return, often to the scene in the book of Daniel, where Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar sees the Angel in with them. We often jump straight to the part where they are drawn out and do not stop to think about the time that they were in the flames. The resurrection appearances that we read of in this season are      reminders of dealing with our emotional state of mind, and not just saying “ah” Jesus is arisen all will be well. In the Resurrection appearances, we find apostles “locked up in fear” (John 20:19), we find doubt expressed by Thomas (John 20:25) (listen or read Rev Peta May’s great Sunday Sermon on this (get it online http://www.stmaryskingsburgh.co.za/video-sermons-services/). We find men out fishing and catching nothing (John 21:3) just three examples of people dealing with life. Experiencing emotions and though they believed, they struggled. And in each scene Jesus comes and comforts and uplifts them.

Do not run from how you feel today, allow God to bring you peace right there, in this time when we lack diversions, we cannot overlook how we feel, we cannot run from it, we have to face it. Emotions are God given “prods” to get us to turn to Him and to receive healing and peace.

St Paul tells St Timothy “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4: 8)

Godliness involves being honest with yourself and with God, it involves seeking to understand God and yourself better. Allow yourself to engage with your fear, anger, resentment, lost dreams and disappointments by acknowledging them in prayer. Suppressed feelings are what lead to depression. “Do not be anxious about anything” said St Paul (Phil 4:6a) and by this he didn’t mean don’t get anxious, don’t feel emotions: he meant don’t stay anxious, he meant that when you do get anxious, acknowledge it and pray about it – “ but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God.’(Phil 4 6b).

This Sunday we will have a Eucharist Service on ZOOM, for those who can attend, and we will post Sunday Sermons as widely as possible. I encourage you to spend time in worship and seeking God this Sunday, in whatever way your context allows. But know this – you are being upheld in prayer and “with the Angles and the saints (that’s you) we say “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord! God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your Glory, hosanna in the highest!

Be assured of my prayers!