Bulletin 31st August 2011

August 22, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Bulletin 31st August 2011

Last week we were reeling in shock as we heard the news of the killings in Norway.  A tragic testimony of what one person filled with fear and prejudice can achieve.

The reporting of the events as they were unfolding in Norway were also disturbingly filled with their own fear and prejudice.  At first it was reported that it must be Al-Qaeda or some “Muslim fundamentalist”.  And when it was finally revealed that it was a Christian fundamentalist—then all mention of his religion became irrelevant, and he was thereafter referred to as a “far-rightwinger”.  Such is the continued prejudice of so much media coverage about Muslims.   This is shameful.

Shortly after the horror of the shootings I was moved by the amazing words from Eskil Pedersen, the youth camp leader where the killings took place, “We will meet terror and violence with more democracy…we will continue to fight against intolerance.”  How different these words are to what we heard after 9/11 and other such attacks!

It reminded me of 1 Peter 3:9 “Never return evil for evil…but on the contrary repay with a blessing.”  We thank God for people who live these words out—may their example inspire all of us to be more   Christ-like.  Alan

 

 

 

 

Sunday 14th August 2011

August 7, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 14th August 2011

Confession simply understood is truth-full talk to God in the presence of a witness.  We confess not to get ourselves into heaven or to secure              forgiveness.  This is grace-fully given to us by God already.  We confess in  order to be healed.  Confession is a healing act in so far as we place our brokenness beyond denial (secured by the presence of a witness) and by doing so, experience our messed-up-ness being heard and held in love.  Confession (as truthful talk to God in the presence of a witness) is a gift for us to use especially if the following quote from Richard Forster connects with us in any way:

“We have prayed, even begged, for forgiveness, and though we hope we have been forgiven we have sensed no release. We have doubted our forgiveness and despaired at our confession. We have feared that perhaps we had made confession only to ourselves and not to God.

The haunting sorrows and hurts of the past have not been healed. We had tried to convince ourselves that God only forgives the sin, God does not heal the memory, but deep within we know there must be something more. People have told us to take our forgiveness by faith and not call God a liar. Not   wanting to call God a liar, we do our best to take it by faith. But because    misery and bitterness remain in our life we again despair. Eventually we begin to believe either that forgiveness is only a ticket to heaven and not meant to affect our lives now; or that we are not worthy of the forgiving grace of God.”

If these words ring true I would invite you to seek out someone you trust and respect to witness your truth-full talk to God.  Courage, Alan

 

 

 

Sunday 7th August 2011

August 7, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 7th August 2011

Last week we were reeling in shock as we heard the news of the killings in Norway.  A tragic testimony of what one person filled with fear and prejudice can achieve.

The reporting of the events as they were unfolding in Norway were also disturbingly filled with their own fear and prejudice.  At first it was reported that it must be Al-Qaida or some “Muslim fundamentalist”.  And when it was finally revealed that it was a Christian fundamentalist—then all mention of his religion became irrelevant, and he was thereafter referred to as a “far-rightwinger”.  Such is the continued prejudice of so much media coverage about Muslims.   This is shameful.

Shortly after the horror of the shootings I was moved by the amazing words from Eskil Pedersen, the youth camp leader where the killings took place, “We will meet terror and violence with more democracy…we will continue to fight against intolerance.”  How different these words are to what we heard after 9/11 and other such attacks!

It reminded me of 1 Peter 3:9 “Never return evil for evil…but on the contrary repay with a blessing.”  We thank God for people who live these words out—may their example inspire all of us to be more   Christ-like.  Alan

 

 

 

 

Romans 8, a great album

July 28, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Romans 8, a great album

Much like a great song, scripture has several disparate ‘hit singles’. However, finding an album with a string of great songs, none of which you skip, is a rarity. Romans Chp. 8 is one such case.

Sunday 24th July 2011

July 24, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 24th July 2011

Lately I have been reminded of the privilege it is to be in the presence of  people who risk being real.  Real, as in being, genuine and authentic without the protective mechanisms of pretence at play.  Real—in all its rawness by those who open their hearts and not simply their mouths when they speak.  People who are not content to paddle in the shallows of public approval—but who put out into the depths—beyond their own ability to control and manage.  Those who dare to grapple with the countless contradictions and boundless beauty of their human condition.  People who speak difficult truth — confession-like — regardless of how vulnerable it leaves them.

There is something about witnessing the “risking realness” of others that is not only inspiring but inviting.  For isn’t it true that one word spoken in truth enables another and another.  One confession uttered makes it easier for someone else to follow with their own…and so on.  This is an invitation for us to live “risking realness”.

At Wednesday Church we were told by an ‘angel’ named William (who heard the music in the Sanctuary and came in to see what was happening) that fear and pride are probably the greatest stumbling blocks preventing us from “risking realness”.  If this be so then it may mean that our first act of risking realness is to name and face our fear/pride, and for the courage to do this we best start with a prayer: “Lord, enable me to trust that nothing can ever  separate me from your love…nothing… now knowing your loving hold on my life help set me free to name and face my fear/pride.”

Joy-full journeying, Alan.

 

Sunday 17th July 2011

July 24, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 17th July 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADIBA

 

Tomorrow is Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.  It is also the Nelson Mandela  International Day, marked as a day to honour Madiba’s legacy by people   engaging in selfless acts of service. Many people have responded. People of faith or no faith, young and old, all over the world. Even here at CMM.

Media houses are running stories of how individuals will be spending their 67        minutes. How will you spend Mandela Day?

As Christians we are expected to give our lives in service to those created in the image of God. Through love, care and compassion we follow Jesus’ example.

How awesome it would be if as Christians we went beyond the Mandela Day gift and continued our minutes or hours of service on a Christ-inspired basis, daily, weekly…… to meet the needs of  our neighbours.

The Mandela Day hype has a challenge for us to turn our words and speech into truth and action. Let us share in the words of a hymn:

 

Jesus’ hands were kind hands, doing good to all,

Healing pain and sickness, blessing children small,

Washing tired feet and saving those who fall;

Jesus’ hands were kind hands, doing good to all.

 

Take my hands Lord Jesus, let them work for you;

Make them strong and gentle, kind in all I do;

Let me watch you, Jesus, till I’m gentle too,

Till my hands are kind hands, quick to work for you.

(Margaret Cropper)

Gilbert.

Sunday 10th July 2011

July 24, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 10th July 2011

Our lives are forever in flux and we find ourselves constantly entering         different seasons. It is with tremendous sadness that we travel into a winter season… a time to say goodbye to a dear and precious friend, a talented    musician, and an energetic servant of Christ…. Mike Spann.

 

Time to Say Goodbye

 

Funny how time flies, we meet in a blink, we say goodbye.

Time would have flown away.

 

When seconds become minutes, minutes become hours and the dark hour passes by.

To signal the break of a new dawn. Time would be moving.

 

When days become weeks, weeks become months and new leaves bloom.

They signal the beginning of Spring. Time would be approaching.

 

When months become seasons, seasons become years, and flowers become fruits.

They signal the arrival of Summer. Time would be nearing.

 

When seasons fly past and trees dry again. They signal the arrival of Winter.

Time would have come. A time to say goodbye.

 

By Sandy Whitfield-Carter

 

 

May we draw nearer to our Lord as we discover the fruitfulness of Summer.

May we reap the rewards of time spent with God during harvest in Autumn.

May we courageously journey through the tough pruning stages of Winter.

May we all be inspired to seek out the youthful energy of Spring, as Mike did.

Blessings in Christ.        Beulah

 

Sunday 3rd July 2011

July 24, 2011  |  Sunday Letter  |  Comments Off on Sunday 3rd July 2011

Not sure how many of you know that the first Church Service to be broadcast live by the SABC took place here in this sanctuary in 1925?  (See the plaque in the “Time Tunnel” next to the bathrooms).  It was cutting edge technology back then and this community was at the forefront.  Since then things have moved on….a long way.  Here are some interesting facts about technology today that may interest some of you…

  • It took 38 years for Radio to reach 50 million users while it took only 13 years for TV.  Yet it took only 4 years for the Internet, and 3 years for iPod while Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year.  If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest in the world (China and India ahead and the USA in fourth place).   Lady Gaga—Justin Bieber and Britney Spears have more twitter  followers than the entire populations of: Sweden, Israel, Australia and Chile.
  • eBooks surpassed traditional book sales during Christmas 2010.  If the online  encyclopedia, Wikipedia, were made into a book it would be 2.25 million pages long and would take you 123 years to read.
  • 1-in-5 couples meet on line.  Some babies in Egypt have been recently named  Facebook as a tribute to how instrumental it was in their recent revolution.    Facebook was the first social media site to insist on users using their real names—some say this has contributed to their success.  Could this mean that people still long for real, authentic relationships?

Things that many of us know little or nothing about consume much of our children’s lives—with “virtual reality” seemingly taking over real reality.  What does it all this mean?  What does it all mean for us as a community?  I am not sure, but I am interested in what you think it means.  Lets talk,  Alan.

 

Jesus’ Resume of John the Baptiser

July 21, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Jesus’ Resume of John the Baptiser

How John The Baptiser’s way of life earned him a resume reference from Jesus himself, even in a time when John was questioning Jesus.

Loving our Children to Death

July 15, 2011  |  Videos  |  Comments Off on Loving our Children to Death

With a prophetic imagination we see that Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac was in fact the Resurrection of Isaac who was as good as dead already. (This video is based on interpretative skills of David Buttrick)