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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Our society attaches numbers to their numerical value. In a time gone by, numbers also had deep symbolic value. The number – or ‘symbol’ – 40 is of great importance in the bible. It’s the amount of days that make up lent, and it also happens to be the period in weeks that a mother goes through pregnancy. Surely this is not a coincidence. Or is it?

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To those who carve out the tracks …

Even though I had a great trip overseas, it is great to be back home — thank you to everyone who travelled with me in prayer, and for those who were landed with extra work as a result of me being away!

Well the week that I left it was at least 35 degrees in the city bowl, so you will understand that my system was in shock when I landed in Minnesota to sub-zero temperatures, getting to as low as -17 degrees at one point during my visit.

In fact the day after I arrived my hosts thought it would be a good idea for me to try cross-country skiing to acclimatise. I thought so too! I figured because I could down-hill ski that cross-country skiing should be a breeze. Before clicking into my skis I looked with envy at the experienced cross-country skiers gliding briskly and effortlessly across the smooth, white carpet of snow. I pictured myself soon imitating them.  In short, I was confident.

My friend advised that I stick to the cross-country track (two parallel ruts in the snow that help to direct one’s skis). I admit when I heard this I thought to myself that I was being unnecessarily stifled. After ignoring the advice I soon found myself “slip sliding away” down the broad path of aimlessness — with no control to stop myself. Humbled I decided to take the advice and get into the track that I now realised was there to enable, rather than curtail my freedom. I soon became very appreciative of those who had gone before, who had carved out the track in the first place.

As we start our Lenten journey I suggest that we step into the carved-out tracks of the faithful who have gone before us, and be increasingly deliberate in our devotion to Jesus. To enter the track of prayerful silence and reading the Scriptures not just to be informed, but transformed. To hunger for justice for another human being who has been wronged, and to share mercy with someone who has wronged us. To live in reverent relationship with creation by preserving our natural resources.

This track is for our freedom!  Alan
Sunday 13 March 2011

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