Lectionary Selection: Luke 12:49 - 56
Prayers for South Africa:
Dear gracious and loving God,
As we go through these trying times attempting to inoculate ourselves and our loved ones from those who look, act and think differently from ourselves, who upset our peace and threaten our well-being, guide us in the right direction and do what is right. Help us to build bridges instead of walls. Help us to be Christ centered instead of self-centered, and to be your extended hands in the world in loving service.Read more
In a historic step the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) issued a clear statement in support of the non-violent Palestinian struggle. The church’s national conference approved the resolution on 10 July 2016.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 8:26 - 39
Prayers for South Africa:
Dear God we pray today for South Africa and remember especially those who seek education and thirst for knowledge and skills. May they be given an opportunity to grow and develop the gifts and talents that you have conferred upon them. May there be a ground swell of support and those working to improve the quality of education in the land. Bless and multiply the work of Inanda Seminary and continue to provide the resources and support for them to continue their work in the country. May Inanda Seminary shine as a light of hope to the country that one day children will tell their story and proclaim what Jesus has done. We commit ourselves today to supporting our own local schools, teachers and school children. Open our eyes so that we might see as you see. Open our hearts that we might love as you love. Open our minds that we might think as you think. Amen.
The Lord is the everlasting God….He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength….. they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…..”
-Isaiah 40:30b-31a (NRVS)Read more
There is an education crisis in South Africa. The pass rate nationally for secondary students is 70.7%. In our province, the pass rate is near the bottom with only 60.7% pass yet Inanda Seminary achieved 100% pass with 96% who qualify to attend university.Read more
Mabel Alice Christofersen
November 16, 1921 – June 15, 2015
The legendary account tells us that one cool October 31st in 1517, the priest Martin Luther defiantly nailed his protest notice to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. These 95 thesis were a list of abuses and errors that he understood were a corruption of the purpose and mission of the Church. In reality, the Ninety-five Theses were most likely sent to his Archbishop. And the list was not really a defiant protest as much as it was a sincere call for the Church to begin addressing some of its problems that Luther felt had obscured the Gospel message.
In any case, Luther hoped that his Theses would be seen and discussed as a step toward renewal of the Church, so that people might know the truth about God’s forgiveness for their lives. The powerful passage from Romans 3:19-28 had fired his soul and he was so overflowing with joy after years of guilt and a need for forgiveness that he had to share the truth with all that he could. Little did he know the enormous impact on the world that his one simple act would have. His willingness to stand up to pope and emperor in the name of the Gospel of Christ changed the face of history, and the face and direction of the entire Christian Church.
Today we do not celebrate division. Rather we celebrate the movement of the Holy Spirit in our Church and our hearts. It is this movement of the Holy Spirit that brings us newness and renewal, both in our personal lives and in the life of the Church. When we pray, "Come, Holy Spirit!" we know that the whole Church is always in need of reform, and we each are always in need of dying again in Christ in order to be raised from the dead, so that we might be truly free by the grace of Jesus the Christ in our lives and Church. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:31-36)
Yet beyond those issues, traditionally in the Church the two days of All Saints Day (November 1) was valued as a time to celebrate heritage and those Christians of the past who faithfully transmitted the Faith to succeeding generations. Martin Luther actually chose All Saints Eve to send his Ninety Five Theses to the Archbishop. His challenge to the Church and its leaders to reform was set against the background of the heritage of that Church.
Today, UCCSA and many Protestant churches combine the two traditional days into the observance of All Saints Day. However, the day focuses not only on honoring departed members of the Church and local congregations, but also those still living who have contributed to the work and ministry of the Church in significant ways. . Some of our churches combined All Saints Day celebration with Reformation Sunday (last Sunday in October) as a way to focus on heritage.Read more
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
-Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
Between the valleys and the mountains, and the panoramic glimpses that we sometimes receive from life’s journey, is the everyday chore of placing one foot in front of the other, kilometer after kilometer- praying and hoping that we are on the right path, and doing what needs to be done. It is sometimes said that what may seem chaotic on a micro level, is ordered on a macro level. In many ways, I believe that is reflective of life at the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.Read more