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My Dear People of God,
The Advent - Christmas - Epiphany Mystery
Greetings in the name of Christ, who came and was manifested to us as at this time!
Christmas is one of the three very important times in our liturgy, wherein every believer is encouraged not to miss the celebration of the transmission of the divine light. The other two occasions are Easter and Pentecost. This liturgical season begins with Advent, a time of waiting in hope for the coming of Jesus in power and great glory for the consummation of the parousia or end-times. John in his gospel speaks of "to behold the glory of the Word made flesh (Gk sarz) and dwelt among us (Gk skevoo).
The Greeks give us a sense of Jesus taking up his temporary dwelling place (as if in a tent) among human beings; full of grace (Gk pleres charis) and truth (Gk kai aletheia). The terms grace and truth are based on the Old Testament concept relating to Gods loyalty and faithfulness to his covenant and covenant people. God who so loved the world that he gave &ldots; (John 3 :16) remains faithful to His promises for humankind. In turn people should respond by viewing or contemplating (Gk theaomai) as if in a theatre, the glory of the truly human Son of God for their own survival - in love, joy, peace and happiness.
Epiphany takes this mystery further to the nations through us who believe. St Pauls enthusiasm and earnestness for missionary zeal and evangelism make him to boldly declare to the Colossian Church the mystery, which is hidden and undiscoverable by human means. It is revealed by God only. The mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1 : 26 -27).
This mystery is manifested in three areas of our life of faith viz. worship, witness and service.
1. Worship is an obligation to those who believe. This entails giving all honour, glory and majesty to God in all our doings. We read and listen to his word and repent in order to resemble his loving, compassionate holy life.
2. Witnessing goes together with the proclamation of the truth of the gospel to those who do not know and do not believe. This we do, not only with our lips, but translate what we say into action (Gal 5 : 22ff; Col 3 : 1-17).
3. The service which we render where there is a dire need, we do so first and foremost to God. There are many challenges the Christian Church is focusing on through the SACLA Process. These should be happening in our worshipping communities. Outreach programmes should be drawn up, aggressively addressing poverty, disease in HIV/AIDS, crime, corruption, abuse, sexism, racism and the building of family.
Corruption, as you heard from the CPSA bishops in the last issue, is alarming. This is worse and heart breaking when it happens or is caused by people who are called Christians. This kind of action cannot be allowed. To be true witnesses to the saving grace of Christ, we need to repent. The occurrence of fraud at St Francis Xavier, reported in the Herald, is no cause for joy. Gambling is also a disease. While we shall allow the law to take its course in such instances, I am calling upon the culprits to repent and turn to Christ. The church cannot afford to lose her credibility at a time where we are building the nation. Most people still trust us. Do not bring the name of Christ which is in you into disrepute. Celebrate Christmas in the spirit of honesty and love.
Together with the angels let us continue the Gloria Excelsis hymn in praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people on whom his favour rests. Lk 2 : 14
Mazoe and I wish you a blessed, joyous Christmas and a bright and prosperous new year!
Yours in the love Christ.
The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.
Rose Trehaeven gave a very informative address on the history of the church to those gathered for cheese and wine on the Friday evening. This was followed by a musical treat for young and old in the form of the Oratorio Choir, as well as the delightful and youthful Conservatoire Concert Band. Indeed, an evening to remember. St Cuthberts welcomed many visitors and former parishioners to the various functions.
Saturday was the childrens day. Joyful song and dance by them as the preliminary item before the opening of their childrens church building, and the unveiling of the very beautiful mosaic in the entrance hall, done by the children - with some assistance. The rector, Ralph McGuigan, helped by his assistant, Eric Kleb, blessed each room during the dedication service. The Lord was gracious allowing a beautiful day for the family braai held after the dedication.
The culmination of the celebration was a combined Eucharist giving God thanks for St Cuthberts ministry over the past 120 years. The guest preacher was Barry Sendall, former rector and now the provost of the cathedral, who was in sparkling form. This wonderful service was followed by fellowship and tea in the hall.
Pictures: Into history - Rose Trehaeven, who spoke on the history of St Cuthbert's, with the rector, Ralph McGuigan, and Michelle Werth. (right) Kids praise - The children show their joy with song and dance. (below) With a little help from our friends - Little Kara Davis in front of the mosaic in the children's church, made by the children ... with a little help.
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