Sermon by Revd Bruce Woolley. Sunday 18 December 2022

Liturgy for Services: The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website .

NOTICES

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031 305 4666

Planned Giving forms are available at the desk. We encourage everyone to be on the Planned Giving Scheme.

Parish Roll: It is important that we have contact details of parish members. Please fill in a membership form if we do not have you details

Lectionaries for sale: These are available at services and from the parish office at R35 each.

Christmas Eve service -10.30.p.m. Christmas Day – Only one service at 8:30 am. New Year’s Eve service -6pm.

Important dates for Guilds for 2023: we ask all guilds to submit their plans/important dates for 2023 to the Church office for planning purposes. Office Closure: Our parish office will close on 20 December and re-open on 3 January 2023

Bishop’s visit: Towards the end of January Bishop Nkosinathi will visit the parish to celebrate our Patronal Festival as well as for Confirmation and the Institution of the new Rector.

Thanks and appreciation

Thanksgiving – Anon (R200) Mntambo Mqoqi (R1000) Dolly Ndlovu – A box of biscuits

Mandla Hlatshwayo – 2 x 5lt of liquid floor polish

Patrick Hingston – R1,000 towards flowers for Christmas Day in memory of Rev. Augustus & Mrs. Patricia Hingston; Mr. James & Mrs. Sally Cama; Mr. Peter Hingston (May their souls rest in peace)

Patrick Hingston – 2 x 18 Pkts of Toilet paper

Staff Appreciation

Yolisa Kobo- Mapasa- R1200 Soni Family- R1000

Bheki Shabalala- R200 Oriana Zulu- R310 Busi Mohalaka- R250

Timothy Nsereko -R500

We collected R9,200 from the congregation and R4,000 was given by the church giving a grand total of R13,200 for the three workers.

We also received several grocery items, which were shared amongst the workers.

Birthdays: 18 to 24 December

  • Snaluthando Zondo
  • Boubou Kalala, Laura Katuu 21 Lina Suliar/Mpontshane

24 Thobeka Dodo, Mbali Gumede Wedding anniversary 18 to 24 December 20 Mr and Mrs Ruth Etyang-Ojur

23 Judo & Revd Nompilo Saane 24 Mr Duncan & Mrs Mchakama

Sermon by Revd Bruce Woolley

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all of our hearts, glorify your name here today. Amen.

“A Man of Faithfulness”

A father was telling his small son the story about the lost sheep who left the other 99. He explained, how the little sheep crawled through the hold in the fence — running and skipping and playing in the sunshine. Out of the woods came a wolf, that was about to attack the-lamb. But just in time, the shepherd, who had been searching for the lost sheep, appeared. He grabbed the lamb, placed it on his shoulders, and took it back to the fold.

The father was surprised when his son climbed up on his knee, clasped his hand and asked, “Daddy’ did they fix the hole in the fence?””

The good news of the birth of Christ is that the hole in the fence has been fixed–the great sign of a loving God has come to us. “It is the fixing of the fence”, this love of God for us that we celebrate during this season of advent and Christmas. As you know our theme throughout this season of Advent has been to answer the question of the question of the well known hymn, “What Child is This”

We saw in the first Sunday of Advent, this child is a child who will judge us, second, we saw that he gives us the power of repentance. He makes it possible for us to change, to turn away from our sins. In the third Sunday, we saw that not only did he come for judgment, but he also came as redeemer. He brings hope for a better life because he is God’s hand in the world.

And today, the 4th Sunday of Advent, we see this child as a human child, born to human parents, in a most humble, of dwellings assuring us that indeed our God created. To understand what it means that our God making His Son into a human, that this child was indeed human, I would like to look at the birth story of Jesus through the eyes and feelings of Joseph.

Of all the characters in the Christmas Story, I can relate to Joseph the best. Whoever gives him any credit? From the biblical record he is the most nondescript person you will ever find. Why, even his identity with his son is lost. Most Jewish boys were called son of Joseph, as in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus was referring to Peter at the time of Peter’s great confession of faith, he said, “Peter bar Jonah,” Or Peter son of Jonah, but what about Jesus himself, in that well know hymn; the last line of the 1st verse says “Haste, haste to bring him laud, the babe, the Son of Mary.” Son of Mary, not son of Joseph.

He might not of bore him, but he helped raise him, he was a son in the sense that Joseph trained him in the skills of a carpenter. But beyond this, Joseph had a problem with his betrothed. We need to take a moment to understand the Jewish marriage system for all of this to make sense.

A man and woman were engaged when they were small children and this was announced by their parents. The next stage was the betrothal. This was the one-year- period during which the couple ratified the previous engagement during which they were known as husband and-wife, lived together, but did not have the rights of husband and wife. Then the finally stage of marriage was when the couple were granted all the rights of a husband and wife.

Today’s Gospel starts in the courting stage, so it is understandable why Joseph is devastated by the pregnancy of Mary. Joseph is a just man, a righteous man, a man of principles. No wonder he was humiliated!! The woman he loved was pregnant, and she cannot explain to him exactly how.

This righteous man knew his options. He could expose Mary by bringing her before the court, or he could privately hand her a bill of divorcement in the presence of 2 witnesses. But his righteousness was clothed in compassion. There were rules covering his situation, but the love of Joseph was more than legalistic. His sense of what was right was also tempered by compassion and forgiveness. Even though he was deeply hurt, he was not vengeful, he could forgive Mary.

Joseph was faithful to Mary. Joseph thought of Mary. Not himself, not of what others might think. He thought of Mary. Even though he didn’t understand all about her condition, he was not willing to put her to shame. Don’t call him weak. He was strong in a compassionate, caring kind of way.

Not only was Joseph compassionate, caring, as he related to Mary, but Joseph also learned to listen to God’s voice in his life. God came to Joseph in a vision and told him he had a special plan for him. God wanted Joseph to stay with Mary, and name this baby Jesus. God came to Joseph and asked him to break with tradition. To do something out of the ordinary. God said to Joseph, stay with his wife who was pregnant even though you aren’t – even in the marriage stage of your relationship, stay with her, support her, and then raise this son as if it were your own. And beside all of this, God says, “and you don’t have to worry about a name for your son I have taken care of that already too, his name will be Jesus.”

Can you imagine anyone listening to this kind of story from God? But Joseph did. He was determined to obey even when he did not understand. He embraced meaning as he was willing to participate in the mystery. Joseph did not plan the Christmas story. There was no way he could have predicted it. But after thinking and wrestling about it in his mind, he opened himself to it and allowed himself to participate it.

I wonder how many of us would have been the words of God, and acted as Joseph did?? How many of us would have be willing to break with tradition, with the way things are, with the way things always have been, to let God’s creative hand move into our lives? How many of us would have been willing to participate in a mystery of God that we didn’t understand? How many of us would have surrendered to God in the way Joseph did?? I wonder.

God is still creating in his world through us. As he did with Joseph, he does with us. He is making us Jesus-shaped. Are we willing to be the “Joseph” in this day and age? Are you willing to be Jesus-shaped? I think every generation should have their Joseph’s. People who are willing to wrestle with their God as he calls them to new directions and detours by his Holy Spirit. God needs people of wonder and imagination who can envision new means of mission and ministry that may well be different from what they have ever tried.

Every generation needs a Joseph who is willing to be compassionate, forgiving and living beyond the legalism of the law. Looking beyond what is prescribed, to what needs to be done in the name of love and grace. ” An artist moved to a new country and was called by the king to come and paint a picture. Everyone watched breathlessly, as he set up his equipment and with a flourish of hand moments, the artist drew a perfect circle and put his crayons away. He said, “Many artist can paint the colours of nature, or the face of a person, but only a genius can draw a perfect circle.

God wants us to be that kind of genius in this world. People who can draw circles of love.

Are you Joseph in your world today? Are you Jesus-shaped? When people think of you, do they think of you in the same way as they would Joseph? hope so.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

 

Contacts Rector

Rev. Dr. Andrew Warmback 083 693 6745

Asst. Priest

Rev Bruce Woolley 079 544 7566

Church Wardens Dr. Egerton Hingston 073 080 4113

Mrs. Yolisa Mapasa 082 435 8170

Alternate Church Warden

Mr. Bheki Shabalala 082 086 9548

Church Treasurer Mr. Lethu Mkhize 082 053 9004

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