Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ!
Every day we pray “fill us with courage now, that we who are filled with hope in your saving love, can witness to the joy of knowing you and the peace that comes with living by faith.”
It is a prayer said in hope that somehow the Holy Spirit will fill us with joy. During the Exile, while Jerusalem lay in ruins, one of greatest challenges the people had was to remain joyful. While they lived in hope of a return to the life they loved, their approach to dealing with the realities of life in exile was varied.
We too need to seriously take lament to heart, and seek to submit to God for the reordering of our lives, to break away from the bad habits that we have developed over a lifetime and develop new, godly habits. It is strange that the best way you can love your neighbour is to wear a mask and not visit them, but that means that we must find new ways of caring and of building sincere relationship. My heart really goes out to those who live alone, and we all need to do more to support them.
As we endure the spike, it is essential that we maintain hope and support those who are infected. I have heard of a few cases of complete folly, as people have flaunted the “rules” and caused infections to spread. Again, I say – we need to think of ourselves as ‘carriers” even if we are not sick, we risk being able to carry the virus and make others sick. So again, I say – love your neighbour consider them more than yourselves. It is a lack of this attitude that is exacerbating the problem.
We also need to ‘fight’ against the blame game and stigma. There are positive people around and we need to treat them with dignity and respect. I know that many people are failing to report contact or associations, for fear of being stigmatised. Pray for them.
Our schooling story is a complex one and I ask you to pray for those who are having to make the difficult decisions. I pray too for calm. Don’t fuel the dissention. I know you are frustrated; I know this is hard – but our work is not to criticise but to reconcile. Reconciliation will come when people think more broadly then their own set of circumstances. Christians need to lead the way in this. We cannot invite the stranger in physically, but in our conversations and thoughts we can consider the impact on them, we can consider their circumstances, and adjust our view of things to consider others and not just ourselves.
I am very grateful to all who have continued to support the Parish financially. It has been a very stressful two weeks for Kim and I as we have looked at the implications of the financial stressors on us. If we continue as we are now – faithfully, we believe that we will see this through. We have never been a wealthy parish we have always struggled to hold our own, but the partnership between the two Parishes has saved us. This we will need to continue to rely on and build a stronger parish which we are doing through the St Francis Toti initiative. Acknowledging that we are still under financial strain, we are confident that we can, provided we remain as committed as we are now, we can continue the work of God in this place.
I pray that the Mandela day reflections have been useful to you and that they have stimulated you. The Revival prayer theme continues, and I pray that you are seriously taking these things to heart. Our Gender Based Violence Awareness campaign will start shortly, and I am grateful to the team working on that.
I remind you that we are still driving a major Plastic Pollution Solution Project (Inkwazi Isu) [Fisheagle Project], our ECD support programme is awaiting funding but is taking shape and we are looking to a new model to maintain a Social Outreach programme as the Kingsburgh Child and Family Welfare is under threat of closing due to a lack of funds and an inability to continue as we have in the past with the Thrift shop and Volunteer Programme (our volunteer run thrift shop remains closed).
I will be offline this weekend – but as always welcome comment and interaction through the many platforms that I have made available to enable Digital communication.
May God fill you with the joy that comes of being assured of our salvation.
Yours in Christ.