Being ungrateful is a SIN. A heart that is not thankful is a terrible thing. It is a heart that continues to demand and is blind to what has been given and continues to be given. How many of us wake up every morning and thank God for allowing us to see this day?
It was because of grumbling that the children of Israel spent 40 years in the desert. Paul says one of the lowest acts of a human being is when one is not grateful.
However, as Christians we called to give thanks always in season and out of season, during good times and bad times. We are called to be like Job who gave thanks even when he was sitting on ashes.
King David was called by God a man after my own heart. He was grateful. In 2 Samuel 7 we meet David at place of being grateful. He has it all. And wants to build a temple for the Lord as sign of his gratitude. However, God refuses but instead God says I will build you a house that will last for ever and its kingdom will have no end. When we are, grateful God does far much more than we can imagine.
We can only be thankful if we focus on the Lordship of God. All that we have comes from God. Be it spiritual or material and even the very breath we inhale and exhale is given by God.
When we are grateful we are submissive To God. God said No to David but he was not hurt by God but was submissive to the voice of God. (2 Samuel 7)
A grateful heart is over whelmed by the grace of God. God says to No to David but offers him something much greater than he had thought. (2 Samuel 7)
Finally, a truly thankful heart is the one that focuses on God and God’s purpose.
So today let us give thanks to God for what he has bestowed on us. May God in his sovereignty continue to Bless us. Always approach the throne of God with thankfulness.
Give thanks to God for a beating strong heart that says there is life, we are alive. May we all remain grateful for all his mercies that he given us and may we be ready and open to new ministries and adventures just as David was, even when he had it all. He was still waiting upon God. That is what a grateful heart does.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Rector of St Barnabas
After having commissioned Peter Jesus says this to him, “In all truth I tell you When you were young you put on your belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands and somebody else will put a belt around you and take you where you rather not go.” (John 21:18) These words speak to all of us and indeed those in Christian leadership. We need to let go of power and manipulation. We need to let go and let God.
The Prayer of Serenity,
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next. Amen.
To accept the prayer of serenity is to show maturity. We need the ability and the gift to discern the course of action to take. Doing nothing is doing something. Often, we tempted to act, from the position of power, because we want to control or we feel we are losing control. Jesus has a different vision from us, that Christians need to have the ability and willingness to be led by someone else and sometimes to a place where we rather not go. That is obedience. We are called to be obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit and that can often make us clash with those that are power driven. Church leaders are called to be servant leaders, called to go to the unknown, proclaim and shift mind sets. Just like Jonah sometimes we rather not face humanity, rather be swallowed by the whale and to hide in its belly. But the Spirit in us says go and prophecy, go and do x, y, z. Sometimes we rather keep the peace and not to rock the boat, but that is God calling us to places we would rather not venture. Avoiding confrontation is always better. Cowards always live to see another day and fools go where Angels fear to tread. Our leadership is not of power or control, it is a leadership of powerlessness and doing the will of God who has called us and sent us. Finally, King Saul (1 Samuel 15) was rejected by God because he refused to follow through the mission of God. He was told to destroy completely the Amalekites, including crops and animals. He kept King Agag alive and the loot in direct violation of the command of God. For this God sent Samuel his prophet to reject Saul as King and as we know David became the chosen one. We are also told that the Spirit of God left Saul, although he remained King over Israel God was no longer with him. We are called to follow Christ wherever he leads us or calls us and we need to trust him and through him we can have life in all its abundance. Amen
The Third Temptation of Jesus. The temptation of power. “I will give you all the kingdoms of this world in their splendour,” Satan said to Jesus. Many people have left Church because of POWER, one of the ironies of the Church is that Christian leaders have fallen to power. The temptation of political power, military power, moral and spiritual power. Even though the Church continues to speak in the name of Jesus, it does not follow the example of the Lord, Jesus though divine, he did not cling to power he emptied himself of the power and become like us. Power has been used in the name of the Gospel. The crusades, slavery, colonialism, the inquisitions, all to do with people to have power over another, Bishops Courts where built, splendid cathedrals built, beautiful seminaries built and ultimately the moral manipulation took place. Cultures and traditions of other nations because power where disregarded all in the name of Jesus. It was all to do with power. Subjecting others in the name of Christ. Christians have fallen to the third temptation, of power. Every time we see schisms in the Church or misunderstanding in the Parish it all be traced to POWER, who is in Charge. We built this building, POWER, nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ. Power throughout Church history has been the cause of rupture, when exercised by those who claim to follow Christ, followers of Christ are meant to be powerless, not manipulative. Power is irresistible. Powers offers us an easy root, then the hard task of love. It is easier to be powerful and manipulative then to love. It is easier to control people by instilling fear, Power, says “I will leave the Church,” humility says love and pray-leaving the Church is easy, but to be humble and love, these are difficult tasks. People of God are called to be humble and to love and to forgive and not manipulative. Manipulation is POWER. “I will not give my offering or I will reduce my tithes?” I will not come to Church”. POWER. I will not ……. POWER. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” We ask, “can we sit at your right hand and you left hand in your kingdom?” (Matthew 20:21) Ever since the snake said, “The day you eat if this tree your eyes will open ad you will be like gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5) we have been tempted to replace love with power. Jesus lived that temptation in the most agonizing way from the desert to the cross. The long painful history of the Church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led. Those who resists this temptation really became the saints. One thing is clear the temptation of POWER is threat that continues in the Church, in the Parish, it takes away from us the opportunity to love one another. We should all cultivate healthy relationships based on love, not to opt for power and control which are often toxic. Many Christian empire -builders have been people unable to give and receive love.
We all need the discipline of confession and forgiveness. Church leaders and all Christians people should be willing to confess and ask forgiveness and be forgiven and forgive. We need to confess our brokenness and we need heal. In the Anglican Church going to confession is practice done by a few people, this is tragic confession of sins is important as this leads to having good relationship with God and with others. We can understand that we are all broken, we all mess up badly. The tragedy of collective confession done during the Eucharist just becomes mere words and seldom do we encounter God who brings healing and reconciliation. There is too much generalization in the collective confession. Collective confession has its place. We need to also practice individual confession. This takes away the speed often associated with the collective confession, gives time to listening, speaking and understand being absolved from our sins and this really becomes sacramental. So, let us practice the discipline of confession and forgiveness. This implies that we need to create a safe place for people to feel that they can come to confession. As a rule, confession done is confidentiality and the priest is not meant to remember that some-one came for confession. This is the safe space that has been violated many times. This must be adhered too by the priest listening to confession. There is no substitute for confidentiality. What is said in the confessional remains in the confessional.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Last week Sunday at our combined harvest service we received R5000,00. We also collected masses of food, which will be given to the families in the Parish through the Feeding Scheme Ministry. Thank you, St Barnabas Bluff, indeed ministry is not a one-person band, but communal. May Our Lord Jesus Christ Continue to Bless you all. Bishop Dino expressed his thanks on hearing that we are replacing our benches with Chairs and that the benches have been donated by the Family of St Barnabas Bluff to the Parish of Ngcwayi, as part of Loving and Caring Communities. Again, this highlights that ministry is not to be done alone. After last week’s gesture by Chloe Freeman of asking her family to buy fruits instead of a present for her birthday. She opted for fruits to be bought and displayed at the harvest festival and to be shared by the children after the service. We all saw the fruits and shared with our Children. My suggestion as companion on this journey is that we should switch from flowers to fruits and vegetables display so that we can feed our young people after the service with fruits instead of sweets and to use the money for flowers to feed one another. So, let us move from flower display to fruits and vegetables display. Often, we throw away the flowers after a week or so, but the fruits go to many homes in the parish, and that is ministry itself. We are companions on this journey so let us move from flowers to fruits or even vegetables as displays that feed and nourishes the family of St Barnabas Bluff. So, no more flowers but fruits and vegetable displays to feed St Barnabas Bluff.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
The Task: Feed My Sheep
Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Peter three times “Do you love me.?” He then says to him “Feed my lambs, look after my sheep, feed my sheep.” Our Lord Jesus after being assured by Peter of love, Jesus gives him the task of ministry. Sadly, our modern way and secular culture that promotes individualism we are thinking that Peter has been sent out on his own, to do mission. However, this is far from the vision of Jesus Christ, when he speaks about shepherding, he does not want us to think about a brave lonely shepherd who takes care of a large flock of obedient sheep. In many ways. He makes it clear that ministry is a communal and mutual experience. Jesus in the Gospels sends the twelve and the 72 disciples two by two. We cannot bring good news on our own, we are called to proclaim the Gospel together in community. The Word says, “If two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them.” (Matt 18 vs.19-20) When you travel alone the journey seems long and boring, but when you travel in the company of another the journey is full of wonder and colour. It is easy to fall into temptation when you travel alone on this road, it is easy to fight temptation when you travel with others. We all need one another, to pray, to encourage, to stay focused on the journey, but also to remember that it is Jesus that heals not the Priests, it is Jesus who is Lord. Whenever we minister together, it is easier to people to recognize that we do not come in our own name, but of the Lord Jesus Christ who has sent us.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
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