Priest's Perspective

Priests Perspective 28 April 2020

Being a priest to a church in the current reality of #Lockdown is a complicated venture. We are accustomed to Sunday Services and face to face interactions. We preach or teach to a group of people who we can see and watch their reaction and interpret their moods and see their concerns and use group dynamics to minister. All that is gone!

Well no not gone, but changed. What is the change? In our context it is an emerging reality. Identifying that need for change is an acknowledgment that things around us are different and we need to adjust. This is unfamiliar. Usually we drive change, like improvements or adjustments. Now adapting is the major driver of change COVID 19 and its mitigation plan of #Lockdown, we are not the agents of change we are the recipients.

This leaves us feeling out of control, a state that we refer to as Crisis. The Crisis is not the pandemic, the crisis is our loss of control. The way to address this is to regain control. As Christians we regain control by aligning ourselves with Christ and His will. As Henry Nouwen puts it.

 “The more I think about human suffering in the world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is to not allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of impotence and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their victims.  I have to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and on those how followed him and trust that I will know how to live our my mission to be a sign of hope in this world.” ( Here and Now- Heni Nouwen)

When I think of how much importance is given, in Scripture and Religious Literature to drawing aside and seeking God, I cannot but think that these may be the most informative and transformative days of our lives.

Today I encourage you to take your faith seriously as the anchor for your soul. See your Christian calling as your primary vocation and that whatever activities you do, they are mission fields to live out the Gospel. The Gospel of hope and peace and joy. The message of truth, that no hardship can separate you from the love of God.

May our Lord Jesus Christ fill you with all hope and joy as you trust in Him.

Your fellow pilgrim.

Fr Andrew.

From The Rector's Desk

From The Rector’s Desk

St Paul exhorted the people of Ephesus – (Eph 5:5) This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it.

I think that too often we apply the grace of God to ourselves and judgement of God to others. Being very aware of other’s faults and shortcomings and thinking that if “they” were just more like us – things would be better. Christ didn’t teach like that, St Paul didn’t teach like that and so I will not teach like that. We all need to strive to “Walk as Jesus walks and do as Jesus does,” we need to compare our own lives to that of the one whom we worship and change our ways (repent) so that we can be conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29). Christ walked in humility, bringing reconciliation, healing and God News. Conviction is of God, condemnation is of the devil.

But how do we respond when the world around us is full of corruption and evil, do we just forgive and forget? No, we hold each other accountable, forgive, restore, rebuild, revive and receive God’s grace. Our lives are to be filled with compassion, standing up for the oppressed and weak, our lives are to be filled with Hope, looking past the negative around us and seeing the Salvation, that all creation groans in eager anticipation to receive. (Romans 8:22)

Our live in Christ must lead us to a new way of behaving, of living, not just a new way of thinking.

One thing that I challenge us as a community to do, is to match the Creed of our belief with the statement of intent of what we will do: – something like the following:

I believe in One God, creator of heaven and earth: therefore I will safeguard the integrity of creation by being an “earth keeper” and working hard in my local community to improve resource management and reduce environmental degradation;

I believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord: therefore, I will be obedient to Christ, serving Him, by reaching out to the lost, the lonely and oppressed, by participating in the churches Social Responsibility projects;

I believe in the Holy Spirit: therefore, I will seek to be guided in daily prayer and through scripture reading, by saying my daily office (Daily Prayer and Bible Reading);

I believe in the Holy catholic Church: therefore I will be a regular in worship and in supporting the work of the Diocese;

I believe in the communion of saints: therefore I will study the lives of those who have gone before me and apply what I have learned from them;

I believe in the forgiveness of sins: therefore, I will forgive those who have harmed me and proactively seek reconciliation.

I believe in the resurrection of the body: and so I will live a life dedicated to God and not for gain in this life, but for the purposed of God’s eternal Kingdom; (you need to decide on what sacrifice you will make and what your vocation is);

Therefore, because I believe, I will live as Jesus is leading me and walk in His way.

May God bless you, as you seek your vocation, your mission and your action.

Fr. Andrew.

From The Rector's Desk

From The Rector’s Desk

The Lord be with you.

What a truly wonderful service we had with Bishop Tsietsi for our Confirmation, congratulations to all who were confirmed.

Bishop was exceptionally complimentary of the people of our parish, and affirmed my reasons to be proud of you all. May we continue to go from strength to strength. Thank you to Good Shepherd for hosting us.

I really encourage those who didn’t attend, to make an effort to attend these combined services, it is a truly uplifting and encouraging experience. I must admit, that I am surprised that Galleria is not too far for shopping but Good Shepherd is too far for Church, (just saying).

Our Confirmands all committed to being involved in the life of the parish this coming year in ways as diverse as joining the music team, to assisting with the logistics and exploring their vocation and discovering what ministry God is calling them to.

I remind you, that we are the fellowship of the “priesthood of all believers” and mature Christians are called to ministry!

Please support these people as they seek to serve God with all their heart and all their soul and all their strength.

Be assured of my prayers as we continue to seek to be faithful to God in our times and do His will in every aspect of our lives.

So let us (in the word of Ecclesiasticus 50: 22-24

“And now bless God of all things, the doer of great deeds everywhere, who has exulted our days from the womb and has acted mercifully towards us. May He grant us cheerful hearts and bring peace in our time, in Israel for ages and ages. May His mercy be faithfully with us, may He redeem us in our own times!”

Yours in Christ.

Fr. Andrew Manning