Sermon by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback. 25 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

Office:

Cell: 081 240 0964

031 305 4666

Merry Christmas:

From the Rector, Clergy, Church Wardens and Parish Councillors, we wish you all a blessed Christmas and prosperous New Year.

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.

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 remains closed until 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.

Church Decoration:

Thank you to Siyabonga Mkhize and others who have decorated the Church for our Christmas services.

Birthdays: 25 to 31 December

26 Perrine Kumar, Thandiwe Mnyandu

28 Boimanelo Puding

29 Aluvuyo Mahlati, Clara Mbatha

30 Sipho Mtoboyi, Thembi Shabangu, Siyabonga Mkhize

31 Lihle Ndaba

 

Contacts

Rector

Revd 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

E-mail: paulsdbn@mweb.co.za

Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za

Facebook: @stpdbn

Instagram: stpaulsdurban

Twitter:@StPaulsDbn

Sermon by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Introduction

The angel announces to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

A bit later a multitude of angels say: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” (Luke 2:14).

Nativity

Jesus’ birth was a very significant event but took place in a most unexpected way.

Being born at night in a stable with animals and then visited by shepherds is quite unusual for the birth of a messiah, a saviour.

But Jesus would be a different messiah, whose power and authority came from God and who was to spend much of his time with those who were poor, rejected, and broken. These are the people who would be considered great in the Reign [Kingdom] of God.

Jesus was born into a world of exploitation of the have nots, of political and military oppression, not unlike in many parts of the world today.

Jesus’ birth was also an occasion of much joy; God came to us in Jesus so that we may be reconciled to God and that we may become agents of peace and reconciliation.

God’s Love

Jesus was born because of God’s love for the world, for people and the rest of creation too. Jesus shows us what love is like in practice. We are to love God, our neighbour and ourselves. This is what following Jesus means.

Learnings

This is my seventh and final Christmas at St Pauls. It has been a great joy to be part of this parish. It has also been a place of much learning. I share five insights I have gained from you:

  1. The respect shown towards others, everyone; for example the way in which the outsider – the beggar, perhaps – is treated with care, one whose humanity is acknowledged;
  2. Patience, a quality we all need. With patience I have found among you a sense of grace, of waiting for things to happen in God’s time.
  3. Seeing the funny side of life, laughing at people’s quirky behaviour, not taking ourselves too seriously.
  4. The importance of prayer; for some people prayer is the only resource they have to hold on to in times of struggle. Prayer should be key for all of us, not as an escape from reality but as an expression of being open to and having trust in God;
  5. Financial giving as an expression of faith; giving not from excess or extra but giving deliberately to express gratitude to God or for God’s ongoing work through this parish.

Thank you for the respect and patience you have shown to Alison and me. Thank you for your love and prayers for us – gifts from this parish we will never forget.

Christmas people

You may have heard a preacher saying that we must be Easter people, live as people of the resurrection. I say live as Christmas people, not just today but beyond Christmas. By this I mean the following:

  1. Being open to seeing the work of God in humble and unexpected places
  2. Jesus followed in the footsteps of the prophets, such as Isaiah from today’s reading, with his mission to bring Good News to the poor, to set the captives free, to bring recovery of sight to the bind. So too is God’s work in us to challenge structures, beliefs and practices that keep people oppressed, labelled or stereotyped: be it in the area of race, ability, health status, country of origin, gender, or human sexuality.
  3. Those who look at the church will know us by our love; let that love not be limited to what we find acceptable or restricted to those of whom we approve.

This is what is natural or expected. Christian love loves the unlovable and forgives the unforgiveable for this is Jesus’ teaching and example. Christmas is for everyone.

  1. Christmas is for all times. In years – in decades to come the Good News will be expressed in different ways, the church will take different forms. Be open to communicating the God News in ways that people can understand and respond to. Don’t be held back by the way things have always been done. Our changing world requires fresh expressions of the gospel, new and creative ways of working for justice, reconciliation and peace.
  2. Joy should characterise our lives. It has been the mark of saints over the centuries. Let us life simply and lightly, generously and with joy.

Conclusion

May you and your loved ones experience God’s love, joy and peace at this time and in the year ahead.

God bless you.

AMEN

 

Giving:

You are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account:    Account Name: St Paul’s Church        Account Number: 50854628623       Bank: First National Bank (FNB)       Branch Code: 221426