The parable of the king and his servants illustrates certain great facts of the Christian life. (i) It tells of the king's trust. He gave his servants the money and then went away and left them to use it as they could and as they thought best. He did not in any way interfere with them, or stand over them. He left them entirely to their own devices. That is the way in which God trusts us. Someone has said, "The nicest thing about God is that he trusts us to do so much by ourselves."
(ii) It tells of the king's test. As always, this trust was a test, of whether or not a man was faithful and reliable in little things. Sometimes a man justifies a certain large inefficiency in the ordinary routine affairs of life by claiming that "he has a mind above trifles." God has not. It is precisely in these routine duties that God is testing men. There is no example of this like Jesus himself. Of his thirty-three years of life Jesus spent thirty in Nazareth. Had he not discharged with absolute fidelity the tasks of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth and the obligation of being the breadwinner of the family, God could never have given him the supreme task of being the Saviour of the world. (iii) It tells us of the king's reward. The reward that the faithful servants received was not one which they could enjoy by sitting down and folding their hands and doing nothing. One was put over ten cities and the other over five. The reward of work well done was more work to do. The greatest compliment we can pay a man is to give him ever greater and harder tasks to do. The great reward of God to the man who has satisfied the test is more trust.
(iv) The parable concludes with one of the inexorable laws of life. To him who has, more will be given; from him who has not, what he has will be taken away. If a man plays a game and goes on practising at it, he will play it with ever greater efficiency; if he does not practise, he will lose much of whatever knack and ability he has. If we discipline and train our bodies, they will grow ever fitter and stronger; if we do not, they will grow flabby and lose much of the strength we have. If a schoolboy learns Latin, and goes on with his learning, the wealth of Latin literature will open wider and wider to him; if he does not go on learning, he will forget much of the Latin he knows. If we really strive after goodness and master this and that temptation, new vistas and new heights of goodness will open to us; if we give up the battle and take the easy way, much of the resistance power we once possessed will be lost and we will slip from whatever height we had attained.
There is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life. We either get more or lose what we have. We either advance to greater heights or slip back. This can also be applied to our Church giving if we stop giving then we slip into the red, but if we are faithfully giving then we always remain in the black. Please let us make sure that our pledges and tithes are in before we celebrate Christmas 2018. Thank you to all those who have gone above and beyond in 2018.
The cross is an instrument of torture but to us it is has become an instrument of our salvation and redemption and the cross has become a symbol of our faith throughout the world.
We cannot talk about Jesus without talking about the cross
At our Baptism the Priests says, “I sign you with the cross the sign of Christ” then the Priest signs the forehead of those being baptised with the cross. Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified”
At our confirmation the Bishop Says, “I sign you with the sign of the cross and I lay my hand upon you.” Lord, confirm and strengthen with your Holy Spirit this your child and empower them for your service.
At the Admission of new converts the Bishop says receive Christ in your heart and take up his Cross.
At the confession the priest makes the sign of the Cross to the congregation as he absolves the congregation from their sins.
At the ordination service of a Deacon the Bishop says receive the Holy Spirit for the office and work of a deacon in the Church of God: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
At the Ordination of a Priest the Bishop says receive the Holy Spirit for the Office and work of a priest in the Church of God, now committed to you by laying on of our hands. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you retain, they are retained. Be a faithful minister of the word of God and of his holy sacraments: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
At the Consecration of a Bishop, the Archbishop says to the new Bishop, receive this cross; remember that he who you serve reconciled us by his own blood.
At the end of the service the priest signs the congregation with the cross for traveling mercies, when Cain had killed Able God put a sign on his fore head, lest anyone should kill him at sight. So, for Christians the cross is the mark that we belong, and we protected by God and that God watches over us.
Just like a farm animal Christians have been branded with the initials of Christ the cross. So that those that meet us or meeting this farm animal will know that it belongs to so and so, in our case the cross says to the world we belong to Jesus Christ. We are not ashamed to Proclaim him. Christians are branded with the Cross. We say at out Baptism, do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ Crucified. Fight valiantly under the banner of Christ against sin, the world and the devil and continue his faithful soldiers and servants to the end of your lives. We called to carry the cross every day. Jesus says we should take up our cross and follow him. We do not just carry the cross on Sundays but every day of our lives, there is not time that we are not Christians and there is no time that we are not witnessing for Christ. St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 vs 18, “The Message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.” He goes further to say, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength”. (1 Corinthians 1 vs 18-25)
Fr. Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi MA (Rector)
Members are afraid to be accused of interference in a marriage. In some cases, if the woman does report then she is met with more violence and sometimes death or she is
ostracised by family members including the congregation. Sometimes she is afraid to speak because economically she is dependent on the husband. We as a church need to revisit our theology, for our teaching at times perpetuates this situation. People are discouraged from divorcing because it is ungodly but fail to condemn violence which is equally ungodly. After all Jesus has come that we all can have life in abundance. If there is violence in marriage then that needs to be condemned and challenged by the Church, by the congregation. No one should live in fear of violence in the home. Clergy learnt that most of the perpetrators are men with high standing in the community. Some are clergy men, some business people, others hold positions in the Church. However, all the teaching on love, care, forgiveness, mercy, show compassion, are forgotten as soon as the family returns home. In the Church we are obsessed in increasing our Church numbers, however many people hear us preach and they know that it rings hollow, for our actions in the family are sometimes known. In fact, it has been found that many people do not want to enter church because of its double standards and its continuous failure to hold congregants to a high standard when it comes to Domestic Violence. We need to create a safe space for women to speak out. We need to put our money where our mouth is, meaning that we need to build, or support women shelters, it is no good just to speak about it. Actions are often louder than words. We need to condemn violence in the home without fear or favour from the pulpit. We need to have courage to ask people who are perpetrators of violence and those who hold positions in church including clergymen to resign and to get help. We also need to deal head on with male masculinity and patriarchal practices that continue to make women to be second class citizens, with no rights at all. We need to encourage our daughters and sons to have healthy relationships, that are not given to emotionally manipulation, physical violence, but encourage honest conversations in relationships, dialogue, without fear of intimidation. To all family members to get involved when things are going wrong and not to look aside especially when red flags are raised early in the relationship, for example when harsh words are used, punishment whether physical or emotional, when the relationship is only about the two of them and family and friends are excluded, this is a serious flag that often leads the woman to be isolated in marriage, with no support system and the violence is untold. If the boyfriend does not allow your daughter to see her girlfriends, that is a red flag. The man has tendency to abuse. If we do not get involved there is lasting damage to us and to all those that are involved. St Barnabas Parish of the Bluff Says No to Domestic Violence and we say this without any reservation. And to our congregants involved in domestic violence we say STOP and get HELP. See a psychologist before you destroy your family and yourself. To the wives or partners report him to the Police and get a Protection order. Ask the Judge that he should leave the matrimonial home to get help and only then can he return home. Harsh as this may sound, it is one of the ways to tackle Domestic Violence head on.
No to Domestic Violence (DV)
Fr. Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi
During the service we shall give an offering. Some of you are now giving online, so we want to thank you for that. Church offering is a time during our service where people from all walks of life can financially support the mission of the church. To help prepare for the service and to give an offering later, let us reflect on this story. It’s from Genesis 12 and it’s about Abraham and Sarah. Abraham is pretty old and has no child, and has lived in this particular town all his life together with his wife and extended family. He’s got a nice life, nice family and he knows everyone in town. He’s comfortable! So God comes to him and says, “Abraham, I want you to leave your hometown, and I want you to travel to this land that I’m going to show you.” God didn’t even reveal the end destination – He just told Abraham to get moving. The Bible says that THE NEXT DAY, Abraham loaded up and moved. I want to teach you a principle that I see in this story, in fact, I see it all throughout the Bible. The blessings of God always follow obedience. Let me say that one more time…the blessings of God always follow obedience. In other words, we obey first, then we’re blessed. I know you’re thinking…”If God would give me a raise, then I would be generous.” But it doesn’t work that way. I know you’re thinking, “If God would give me some financial blessings, then I would obey the Bible.” That’s not how it happens. We obey God, even when it’s tough, even when it’s hard, even when it makes us uncomfortable. That’s how Christianity and faith work. Abraham went on to become the father of a great nation – the Jewish people. He was famous, blessed and important. God blessed him with a family. In fact, the Bible says that all the people on the earth would be blessed through Abraham. But none of that happened until after Abraham obeyed. One of the big reasons we give is to obey God. We give generously because that’s what the Bible teaches. Even if it makes us uncomfortable, we want to be obedient to God. The blessings of God will follow our obedience of God. So let’s pray and ask God to bless the oﬀering we will give this morning. I’m going to pray that God would bless everyone who obediently gives to His purposes.
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