Harvest Festival 6 February

In February every year we celebrate Harvest Festival. It is an opportunity for us to bring food that will be given to those most in need. It is also an opportunity for us to make a commitment to be generous. Our reasoning is simple: God is Generous. We are born in God’s image. Therefore we are designed to be Generous.

Just as we should always pray, “Lord make me more loving and truthful,” so we should also pray, “Lord make me more generous”.

The aim of our generosity is to partner God in mending this broken world. This may happen through CMM or any other organization or initiative or individual. Therefore the important fact is not so much where we give, but that we give. I believe every act of generosity anywhere anytime that helps realize God’s dream for the world is a holy act!

I invite you to consider CMM as a further opportunity to be generous so that we may fulfill the dream of God in and through this community. For CMM’s bank details please refer to the Contact tab above.

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Prayer for Japan

Lord God we gather to worship you – creator and sustainer of all that is.
You are the one who spoke light into being – piercing the darkness with hope.
You are the one who raised dry land from the watery depths – setting boundaries for the waves.
You are the one who rooted plants and trees – producing fruit, nuts and shade for all your creatures.
You are the one who fashioned humanity in your image – breathing your breath into our being.

Yet this past week our breath has been taken away as we have witnessed the waters break their boundaries – overrun the land you raised up – dislodging everything in its path – uprooting trees as if they were toothpicks – knocking over houses and buildings as if they were dominoes – sweeping boats in-land and driving vehicles out to sea.

Lord God to watch all of it live on TV, computers or even on our phones, seemed to make it less real. It was like a science fiction movie and yet it was real people being chased by the watery serpent and not Hollywood actors – ordinary people going about ordinary things who were being swallowed up.

And here is our confession Lord – we struggled to feel their pain and hold their trauma for any meaningful length of time. What for us can be little more than a passing news item, is for them a life scaring event. Their lives will forever be marked with the trauma of these last few days.

Lord for some of us there was a relishing fascination towards the destruction we saw. Not able to tear our eyes away – wondering (even hoping?) for something bigger to fall prey to the raging seas. Still others of us had a calm ability to change channels between news broadcasts and the rugby or cricket. Oh Lord and you know that too few of us were moved to our knees in prayerful solidarity. Sometimes it is because we feel tiny in the face of it all – but sometimes it is apathy. Sometimes tragedy like this calls us out of our minute worlds of self-concern while at other times it does not….may this be a time when we are.

And Lord if we have lashed out at you with doubting and questioning tongues – know that it is because we are afraid – we are afraid when chaos seems to reign because we wonder what has happened to you – to your love and to your power. Receive our challenges to your integrity with mercy – see them as our desire to find you in all of what we experience – especially in what we do not understand and cannot control. Forgive those of us who have suggested that this tragedy is to be understood as your selected punishment and move us to see the compassion of your heart that weeps when people anywhere and everywhere weep.

Now Lord from this deathly event that you did not cause we ask that you use to bring forth life. Use it in ways to further your loving purpose in the world and in our lives.
Give to each of us an enlarged appreciation for life.
Give us an ability to hold our own struggles in comparative perspective.
Give us renewed commitments to what matters to you.
Help us to hold our possessions – our houses, cars, telephones and shoes more loosely and our money more generously.
Convict us to care for this planet and to repent of our ongoing abuse and callousness towards your creation.
Move us to pray for those who grieve and suffer and open us to find your home among the suffering that we may be set free once again to praise you. Amen

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Let’s remember our roots

Some of you are aware that amidst our memorabilia at CMM we have an original handwritten letter by John Wesley, dated 1772. We are looking forward to displaying this and other memorabilia as soon as the sanctuary has been painted.

As I was reflecting on Methodist history I remembered a delightful exchange of communication written by the Duchess of Buckingham to the Countess of Huntingdon. Lady Huntingdon was a supporter of the Wesleyans (Methodists).

“I thank your ladyship for the information concerning the Methodist Preachers. Their doctrines are most repulsive, and strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect towards their superiors, in perpetually endeavouring to level all ranks, and do away with all distinctions. It is monstrous to be told that you have a heart as sinful as the common wretches that crawl on the earth. This is highly offensive and insulting, and I cannot but wonder that your ladyship should relish any sentiment so much at variance with high rank and good breeding.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if CMM were to be accused of levelling all ranks and do away with all distinctions!

Lets be radical — meaning, let’s remember our roots!  Alan

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Demand equality

On Monday afternoon I went to see The King’s Speech — a movie about King George VI who had a speech impediment from a very young age.  His stammering made it impossible for him to make public speeches. In 1939, however, war was declared with Germany and the King was expected to bring a word of comfort and courage to the nation. The King’s Speech is one of personal triumph and how it was achieved — most notably through a transformative friendship with a speech therapist.

I will not tell you anymore about the movie except to make an observation: Lionel Logue (the speech therapist) insisted on referring to the king as Bertie (the name used only by his wife and family) and not Your Royal Highness, as royal etiquette required. Instead, Lionel demanded a relationship of equality. By using the name Bertie, he related to the king as a person first before his role as king.

To be healed of our own stuttering lives we all need relationships of equality where we are seen as people first, regardless of our role or position. O God fill our lives with Lionel-like-people as we pray to be Lionel-like-people to others.

Peace, Alan
Sunday 3 April 2011

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Sunday 20th March

Today is the start of National Water Week.  Now I am sure you know that nearly 97% of all the world’s water is salty, or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves only 1% for all of our needs!  And 70% of that is used for irrigation and 20% used by industry—so we are left with about 0.1% of the world’s water for us to actually drink.  Making fresh, drinkable water a very precious resource!

We live on the driest continent on the planet that is likely to become more and more drought-stricken due to severe climate change.  For example Africa’s Lake Chad, once a landmark for astronauts circling the earth, is now difficult for them to locate.  The lake has shrunk 96% in 40 years.  Closer to home, we only need to think back to Beaufort West that ran out of water in December.

Jesus asked a woman for a drink in Samaria and for a moment it was touch and go whether he would have his thirst met.  Later on the Cross, amongst his final words he cried out was, “I thirst”.  This will certainly be the cry of our century if we do not use water much more sparingly, as well as begin harvesting rainwater and the like.

Please consider making this part of our Lenten journey towards the “Cross of thirst”.  Alan.


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