This coming Sunday we celebrate the nature of God. The God who is majestic and yet he allows Abraham to speak to him as an equal. He speaks to Moses through a burning bush. He is God who delivers. He frees the Israelites out of Egypt, using wonders to enthral the children of Israel. This God has given us commands to follow each day so that our days may be long. He is a generous God and equally a jealous God who does not want to be a substitute in our lives. He wants to be the first and only God. He is the God of relationships. God does not send Angels to have a relationship with us on his behave but he himself comes and has a relationship with us not only as a community, but as individuals. This God desires living relationship with us. It is not abstract and it’s as really as you and me. Our God is quick to forgive. He does not bare grudges. Our God wants authentic relationship to flourish. He wants relationships that have integrity. He wants us to honest relationship with him and this should be seen equally in our relationships with one another. If one looks at the Holy Trinity, One sees God who is in a relationship. There is no tag of war going in the God head. It is a community that exercise unity, peace and love. We as Christians are called to have living relationships with each other. For this pleases God. Our relationships, should not be infected with, slander, gossip, Un-charitableness, instead our relationship should always imitate the relationship we find in the Trinity. Trinity Sunday celebrates the nature of God we are called to imitate not only in the church but the community at large.
Read this book on the net. www.atma-o-jibon.org/english/nouwen_return1.htm
The Younger Son,
“The younger son said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me.” (Luke 15:11-12) Returning means that one had left home. The request of the younger son is offensive at many levels. It is hurtful to the father for in many ways he is saying to him I do not care whether you are alive or dead. This approach of the son contradicts human life at many cultural levels. How can one wish his parents dead? If one was to make such a request to parent today the consequences are unimaginable. The community would reject such arrogance and behaviour. What the young son was demanding was only entitled to it when his father had passed away. It was scandalous the behaviour of the younger son. The younger son also rejects his home by demanding his inheritance. It is downright selfish. His behaviour points to a self-centred individual. He betrays the family for this coveted distant country and his departure leaves it impoverished. We can recognise the younger son within ourselves, the rebellious individual, self –centred person. Rejecting all the teaching of the Church and rejecting our baptism, through acts of sin. We have preferred the distant country instead of the church. We have wasted our inheritances and traded our rights and privileges given to us at our Baptism for the world. As the young man soon discovers that the world rejects him when he has nothing more to give. Most of us have spent more time in the world then we have spent in the church since our confirmation day. There is joke that says that Anglicans graduate out of the church on confirmation day. True and equally tragic. Henri Nouwen says, “Leaving home is, then, much more than an historical even bound to time and place. It is a denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God with every part of my being, that God holds me safe in an eternal embrace, that I am indeed carved in the palms of God’s hands and hidden in their shadows.” (Nouwem 2010: 41) For Nouwem leaving means I am still to come home. For him home is the ‘centre of my being,’ where, ‘I can hear the voice that says: “you are my beloved, on you my favour rests.” We need to hear this voice, for it speaks to us, it is the uninterrupted voice of God throughout the ages. When we hear this voice we know that we have come home.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
On Sunday we celebrated the birthday of the Church. The Coming of the Holy Spirit that was promised to the disciples descended on them and anointed them. The Holy Spirit flows when the congregation is gathered for the same purpose-unity of the congregation is vital for the free flow of the spirit. The Spirit moves freely in the congregation that is united. We see this in the Acts of the Apostles. The congregation gathered was empowered by the Holy Spirit that all where able to understand each other. Some spoke Greek others Aramaic and other languages too, the beauty was that all understood each other. What a marvel it would be if we all understood each other. There is less manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the congregations because we are less united. St Paul takes the trouble to chastise congregations who are behaving badly. For St Paul knew that disunity grieved the Holy Spirit. Jesus prayed for the unity among the disciples. Christ did not will the congregations and church should break-up. Sadly churches continue to split at an alarming rate. The question to be asked , Are people converted to God or the Church? It seems ,more likely that the congregations are converted to the Church as an institution and not to God that we see and experience through our Lord Jesus Christ. Who says render your hearts and not your garments. God through Jesus Christ wants to have a living relationship with us as his people and not to hide behind, Canons or Acts of the Diocese, all these are important but can never be replaced by authentic human relationships. God wants us to be converted to him. Jesus Christ states very clearly seek the first the Kingdom of God. We are called to be Kingdom people. Peter and the other disciples are good examples of Kingdom people. When he is told to stop preaching about Jesus , he declares, "obedience to God comes before the obedience to men." Peter and others are a good illustration that these where converted to Christ Jesus.
We are about six weeks away from the Lay Witnessing Weekend. A lay Witness Mission is a weekend experience in
which a team of ordinary people from African Enterprise comes to St Barnabas to share in the life of Jesus Christ. Lay meaning that these are not ordained people, but ordinary people, who have a story to tell about Jesus Christ. What
Jesus Christ has done in their lives and continues to do in their lives! Stories of other lay people enable us
to be renewed, to examine our own lives in Christ Jesus and to pray that Jesus
can manifest himself in our lives in the way that he is doing in those who are
leading the lay witnessing mission. We too are invited to tell of our own
stories with Jesus. It is when ordinary people speak of the living Christ in profound way that others are moved
to seek him earnestly and to be fulfilled by him. The lay witnessing mission is
open to all young and old, converted and not converted. It is a weekend of
renewal and getting new direction from God. Many people get confirmation on
things they are praying for you. Such as being a lay minister or even entering
into the ordained ministry. The way we should view lay witnessing mission is like the whole parish has gone into
retreat, for that weekend. So that when the parish comes out of this weekend
retreat the growth that the parish will experience afterwards should move us to
say this is marvellous in our eyes. Lay witnessing mission has the ability to
triple if not quadruple church numbers. It is has the ability to increase
ministries in the parish and to get move people to be involved in the life of
the parish instead of just being pew warmers. Lay witnessing mission has cataclysmic
implications. If we take on this vision of lay witnessing mission and to own it
and to say to ourselves that we will make an individual effort for this to
succeed, the numbers we experienced during lent will seem like child’s play.
This parish needs lay witnessing mission for it has many people who God is
calling and this weekend will help them make decisive decisions. We had good
numbers in Lent but we should not rest on our laurels and neither is Christ.
Jesus Christ wants St Barnabas to grow in numbers and in ministries.
Jesus Christ wants Christians at St Barnabas to boldly witness for him on the Bluff and surrounding areas.
Dates 29th June- 1st July 2012
God has been speaking in this parish of St Barnabas for men and women to pray. These men and women would make prayer their sole business. These will not only pray that God intervenes in their lives
but the life of the parish as well. In the last eight months a group has met faithfully in the chapel to pray
each Wednesday, others have me in the morning Tuesday to Thursday. The men of
the courage met during lent in the mornings. These examples say to us God is calling us to prayer, deep prayer. Last Saturday the 21st of April, Clive Heron took us through contemplative prayer as Church Councillors this
served again as an example of God continue persistence for this parish to prayer, to communion with God in the deepest parts of our hearts. There is a song that says ‘Be still and know that I am God.’
This call to pray for the parish in not only left to intercessors but it is a DUTY of all to pray. At least
for an hour each day without fail and to observe the Wednesday fast and to
attend the 0900 service ON Wednesday, if one can and the evening intercessory prayers
at 1700 in the Chapel at the bottom. We need not be impatient, but to be steadfast in prayer.
Prayer and indeed the intercessory prayers is the highest ministry in the Church. It is the life line of the
Church. Without being rooted in prayers then we will began to follow our own
agenda and not that of God. Prayer will change and even challenge us. God
listens to heart that is humble and not the one that is boastful God will not
listen. Continued prayer life in the parish will make us have breakthrough in
the parish and in our individual lives. We have entered a season of preparing for the lay witnessing ministry;
this period should be marked by intensity of prayer by all parishioners. As
parishioners we should set aside at least one hour of day in prayer. Those who
are called to intercessory should cultivate this ministry that more are added.
We need prayer warriors for this mission to succeed. We need to be soaked in the
life of prayer. The devil lost the war with our God, but he has not stopped the
wild cat’s attacks on the faithful. He continues to roam around seeking who
to devour. We need to be alert to these attacks and prayer is our formidable
tool in our tool kit. When we make
prayer central and intercessory prayer the root of our parish life then we will
begin to pray into the will, plan and purpose of God over this parish and our
lives. Prayer says to God we have submitted ourselves to him, unequivocally.
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ