Lectionary Selection: Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
Prayers for South Africa:
Gracious and loving God, our world is horribly broken and wounded. Due to systemic sin that manifests itself in racism, sexism and homophobia, even "saints" are inevitably and often unknowingly "sinners." None of us are without sin, especially as it regards the destruction of your Creation. Yet, your ministry teaches us that all are loved by God and can be reconciled to God. Inspire us not to judge and condemn others to be irredeemable. Equip us not to behave hypocritically. Enable our humility to encourage others to confess their sin and to repent as we have. Remind us through your reconciling presence that you have come to save the lost sinner and not necessarily the self-righteous saint. Empower us to be agents of reconciliation, not division, by recognizing the division within ourselves. Equip us to be conduits of your mercy and forgiveness by offering the gift of salvation to all people and to your Creation. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from South Africa:
The parable and the interpretation of the Parable of the Weeds is problematic, for it classifies and divides people. The parable suggests that people are (almost inherently) this or that, wheat or weeds, good or bad, angels or demons. Some will be redeemed and others eliminated. As I teach Missiology, Reformation history and the history of Christianity in southern African at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics) in South Africa, the students realize that the characters that we encounter are almost all "mixed bags." None of us, nor our Christian heroes, are saints. For example, Martin Luther was terribly anti-Semitic and had an extraordinary "potty-mouth." None of the members of the Bethel Congregational Church (United Congregational Church of Southern Africa) who I serve, even the most difficult and cantankerous, are inherently malicious and evil. The people of South Africa remind me that few if any are exclusively Black or White, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual. We all exist, biologically and spiritually, on a spectrum. Perhaps, the parable can best be interpreted existentially. How can we root-out the weeds and foster the wheat within our own selves to live to our fullest God-given potential? It is in the identification and pulling-out of the weeds and the identification and fertilizing of the wheat within our own souls that best enables us to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and be God’s light to the world which so desperately requires it.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Rev. Dr. Scott Couper)
Mission Partners in South Africa:
- Related Institution: Ons Plek
- South African Council of Churches
- South Africa Synod, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- Theological Education by Extension College
- United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
More information on South Africa: http://www.globalministries.org/south_africa
Global Ministries Missionary in South Africa:
Rev. Dr. Scott Couper, serves as a long-term volunteer with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. Scott’s appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.