Sunday, 31 May 2009


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It is our custom that once a year during Synod all the preachers exchange pulpits throughout the region.  This reminds us that we belong to a large , diverse and expansive family. 

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As a result I will be preaching in Blue Downs (not sure where that is yet, although by the time you read this I hope I do!) and the Rev. Michael Lambaatjeen is preaching here at CMM this morning.  It is fitting that on Pentecost Sunday the Word of God is brought to you from a “different tongue”.   Welcome Michael, be at home!   Break ipod


I have referred before to Sally Brampton’s book: Shoot the damn dog: a memoir of depression.  It documents the harrowing and hope filled journey from the  desperation and darkness of depression  towards light and life.  What makes her words sound extra crisp when she is describing what contributed towards her healing is the fact that  she describes herself as a “fully paid-up and passionate atheist”.  She writes: “The only antidote to hopelessness is faith, trust, belief—call it what you like—and, through attending AA and seeing the love, kindness, compassion and respect that people regularly show each other in the meetings, I began to believe again in the kindness of strangers and in community.  You might say that AA restored my faith.  It taught me not to interrupt, to listen to other people and look at them without judgement. 

It taught me compassion, forgiveness, tolerance and understanding and not just for other people but for myself. 

Most of all, it taught me about the redemptive power of love and friendship.” Goodbye Lover hd

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Wow!  It was through her experience of a kind and compassionate community that was simply trying to deal with their hurting and often messed up lives in open and trusting honesty that taught Sally about the saving power of love.  Sounds like she got to taste what Jesus hoped the Church would be in the world!  Peace, 


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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Dear Friends                

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As you know every Wednesday evening we get together for soup and bread and song and prayer and sharing, to which EVERYONE is welcome.  Thank You, Mr. Moto hd

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This past Wednesday evening during our discussions, inspired by the Manna and Mercy workbook, we reflected on God’s plan to teach a partner people how to live trusting that the nations of the world will notice how these people live. 

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The nations will see how joyful life can be, and tired of war, oppression, and greed they will ask these partner people to teach them how to live. 


Yes, God actually trusts that we can live life in gentle, healing and generous ways that will make the rest of the world want to stop in for lessons! 

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Inspired by God’s huge faith in us to live life in life–giving ways, we wondered what sort of community God would like CMM to be.  Here it is in the form of a prayer:


Lord, please shape us into an all-inclusive, non-judgemental and non-imposing community, with integrity and without being self-righteous.  Amen. 


Then we went deeper, asking what “all-inclusive” means and wondering who in our surroundings may have any inhibitions about whether they would actually be welcome at CMM.  The following came to mind:

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homeless people; foreigners; sex workers; young people; gays and non-churched people.   Now what? 

How do you think God wants to answer this prayer through us?  Lets pray the prayer and see.  Peace, Alan.


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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Dear Friends,

Last week we were reminded that Jesus spoke more about money matters than almost any other issue. He did this for at least three reasons: [1] Jesus knew that money has the power to relocate our hearts—from a trust in God “to where our treasure is”. So for Jesus to speak of money-matters was in fact another way of speaking about heart-matters. And deep inside we know that this is true because we know how our relationship with money really is a revelation of our heart. [2] Jesus knew the “god-like-ness” of money. That any and everything seems to cost money — it is omnipresent — and therefore we are inclined to see money as a solution to all our problems and provider of all our dreams—in other words, our salvation. [3] Jesus knew that the more money we have the more independent we may start to behave, forgetting our neighbour because we seemingly no longer need them. As John Wesley said: “Having riches inevitably leads to trusting riches, for when people are fixed on storing up wealth for the future, they neglect to love God and neighbour in the present.”

To counter these dangers Jesus invites us to be a generous people. This gives us a clue as to why we have an offertory every Sunday during worship: [1] We have a weekly offertory to repeatedly re-locate our wayward and wandering hearts back to God. [2] To place the popular god of our age at the feet and service of the Living God. [3] That it may be used to bring life—abundant life—in this wounded world. This means our Sunday offertory is not about “fundraising” for the Church. During the offertory today and indeed during every generous act—I invite you to feel your heart move! Peace, Alan

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Dear Friends,

Joy and peace to our Mothers as we honour their strength and courage!

Mother’s Day originated as a call for a day of peace in the United States by Julia Ward Howe who protested the carnage of war in her bold proclamation of 1870? Years later in 1907, the first Mother’s Day observance was held at a Methodist church service honouring the memory of Anna Reese Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia. Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, who organized women during the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions and to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbours.

Here is the Mother’s Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe:

Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, disarm! The Sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonour nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace. – Julia Ward Howe, 1870.

May God help us to honour these amazing origins of Mother’s Peace Day! AlanThank You, Mr. Moto movie 13: Game of Death trailer The Sweetest Thing release

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Dear Friends,

A special welcome to Rev Terry Moult who is leading the service of worship this morning. Terry is a retired Methodist Minister now living in Milnerton. Thank you Terry for being with us this morning.

Two thoughts from last week that I encourage you to journey with a little longer: First, please trust that Jesus’ presence among us is not dependent on our clarity of understanding or even our belief in him, but rather on his simple delight to be with us and his deep desire to facilitate healing in and through us. And this is joyfully true for all people everywhere.

Second, I quoted Douglas John Hall saying: “All things considered it is not suffering itself but our incapacity for suffering that is dangerous to our health.” In other words it is not suffering that destroys us but rather it is our fear and evasion of suffering that do that. How? In our desire to evade suffering we all to often sacrifice the truth. This helps entrench the wrongs of our life that ultimately return to threaten our livelihood and that of the world. The disciples escaped pierced hands and feet but their conscience as well as social justice ended up in shreds.

In these inauguration days may God raise up new leaders with humble hearts and sharpened consciences. People who realise their highest calling is to honour truth and fairness above all else. People who will protect the Constitution even if it means pierced hands for them personally. And for our new President why don’t we pray that it will be a moment of great grace for him – praying God’s gift of new life to come in him and through him! Alan

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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dear Friends,

This past week I came across two quotes that touched me:

“Whenever I meet a Buddhist leader, I meet a holy person.  Whenever I meet a Christian leader, I meet a manager.” – O Guiness, quoting a Japanese business person.

“I wake early and sit in bed with a cup of tea and think.  Not about anything in particular, it is my way of untangling the chaos in my head and establishing a sense of peace and order for the day ahead.  I do this every day for half an hour, and then I meditate for twenty minutes.  It’s a routine I’ve got into since I was ill.  I don’t know how or why it works.  I just know that it does.!  – atheist author Sally Brampton.

The first quote reminds me of the deepest and most important call upon our lives.  First and foremost we are called to be a holy people.  Long before we are called to be effective and efficient we are called to be a people with pure hearts.  Holy, not as in prudish but as in truth-full. 

The second quote reminds me that we all (atheists included!) need daily habits of silent reflection, meditation – what I would call daily devotions or prayer.  The difference to the quote above is that we are invited to be deliberate about what we think about.  We are invited to reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus and how they connect with our lives and world.  We too may not understand how, or why it works but “I just know that it does”.  If Sally Brampton can take 50min a day in “daily devotions” I feel challenged to do the same.  How about you?  Alan

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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Dear Friends,

It is great to have Dr. Gilbert Lawrence sharing the Good News with us this morning. Thank you in advance Gilbert for the gifts you bring to us.

In these Resurrection days I remind you of theologian, Morton Kelsey’s insight into the significance of the Resurrection that literally turns our understanding of the world up-side down:

“On the first Easter morning the disciples were suddenly confronted with a world in which God was more powerful than the Temple, or Rome, or any other power … Of course part of them rejoiced in the hope that Jesus had risen, but still more of them were stupefied, paralysed with fear. The world was the way Jesus had described it. They had never quite believed him … If it were true, … then they had built their lives on all the wrong assumptions. If the Resurrection is true, then this world is not what it seems to be, and I may be called to follow the way of love revealed in this event.”

Easter affirms that the world is the way Jesus described it. This means that the truly blessed ones in this world are the ones who Jesus calls blessed and not the ones who Fortune Magazine or Vanity Fair call blessed.

Blessed are the poor and lowly. The marginalised and disadvantaged – the ones who always come last. The just and gentle. The humble and merciful. The non-judgemental and the joyfully sacrificial. The mourners who are not left cold by death. The truth tellers and pure in heart. The failing who try again and the generous who give again and again. The blessed are the prayers on their knees and prophets on their feet. The lover of enemies and forgiver of wrongdoers 70×7. The ones who worry not what clothes they wear having considered the lilies clothed in Godly splendour. The child who shares bread and fish with a crowd way to big and a convicted thief who asks for the one thing he couldn’t steal – to be remembered in love.

May we seek after this blessed life. – AlanA Good Year It’s All About Love film

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Sunday, 12 April 2009

Dear Friends,       
Welcome to everyone who is visiting CMM for the first time today.  Be at home!

It is my prayer that as we celebrate the Raised Jesus among us we will experience with fresh faith the power of God to raise even us from the dead to new and abundant life.  For is it not true that many of us live in tombs?  Tombs of despair, bitterness, cynicism, jealousy, selfishness, pride, fear, prejudice….  Tombs that we are unable to free ourselves from.  Tombs that need God to roll the stone away.  May God reach us with rescue—with resurrection rescue today! 

How? You ask.  Well Sydney Carter writes in a poem: “No revolution will come in time to alter [a] person’s life except the one surprise of being loved.”  Resurrection rescue happens when we are surprised by being loved.  Loved fully by one who knows us completely.  So hear the good news—you are precious beyond measure, beautiful beyond description, chosen and claimed by the One who knit you together in love, by love and for love.  You are forever celebrated and enjoyed by God—the God who comes to save and not condemn—the God who has forgiven you in advance—the God who has rolled the stone away that you may have new life.  Now go and surprise others with this same love.  Alan

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Sunday, 05 March 2009


Dear Friends         

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The author of Mark’s Gospel has a reputation for being in a hurry.  So much so that he skips out the birth narrative of Jesus preferring to start his story by fast forwarding to the adult Jesus’ baptism.  And then he proceeds to describe Jesus’ baptism and 40 day wilderness temptations in just three verses!  Mark’s rushed reputation is justified!


This is all the more reason to take note at how the author of Mark’s Gospel slows down during that terrifying week we now call Holy.  Even he takes time to pause before the agonising suffering of Jesus. 


I hope we will all follow this example and take time to pause in these coming days.  Let us commit to marking each day of this week with some extra act of deliberate devotion.  Perhaps getting up earlier than usual in the morning to pray or to awake in the middle of the night for a few minutes reflection or at 12noon to read the scriptures.  Perhaps we may decide to reach out with a specific act of compassion, generosity  or forgiveness this week to someone we know who is in need or who is estranged from us.  In the very least we could commit to attending the evening reflections every night this week at 7pm—perhaps coming a little earlier to sit “slowly” in silence.

May we be disturbed into Holiness this week.  Alan


Sunday, 29 March 2009

Dear Friends                                                                             


A special welcome to Rev Ken Leverton who will be sharing the Gospel with us this morning.  I am preaching at Salt River and Observatory today.  Nicholas Nickleby movies Please pray for the leadership of these congregations together with Woodstock congregation in their search for a new minister as a result of the moving of Rev. Greg Andrews.


In the sermons of the last two weeks we have seen that as soon as the blisters on the hands of the ancient Israelites, resulting from Pharaoh’s brickyard, were replaced by blisters on their feet from the wilderness sands, they began to complain. 

Forgetting their oppressive past they began to scorn the mighty acts of God’s liberating love.


I believe this past week we have witnessed a similar scorn towards the mighty acts of God’s liberating love in South Africa by the government refusing to allow the Dalai Lama to visit.  It reveals a shameful forgetfulness of our own past of a previous regime who would dictatorially decide to prevent the free movement of spokespeople for justice.  Praise God for people like Minister Hogan for stating South Africa’s true “best interests” namely that of respect for human rights.  Lord have mercy on our wilderness-situated-land, you set us free from bondage now guide us to our land of promise which seems so far away. 

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