Sermon for Fifth Sunday of Easter, 10 May 2020 by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback and Others

Sermon for Fifth Sunday of Easter, 10 May 2020, also Mothers’ Day, St Pauls Anglican Church, Durban, by Revd Dr Andrew Warmback, together with contributions for Mothers’ Day from the Youth and Men’s Group.

Introduction

Good morning people of St Pauls.  Let us pray: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight our strength and our redeemer.”

Firstly, on this wonderful May morning, Happy Mothers’ Day!  Before I preach we offer some creative contributions from others in the parish, from the youth and the men.  We thank them for this.

[texts of speakers in videos below]

Youth Contribution

Words by Neelano Saane and video production by Mazithi Lukhozi, with assistance from Kenneth Tafa

Nothing is more special than a mother’s love.  Mothers are our pillar of strength, our sunshine for the rain and our shelter when the storm comes. So may this special day bring you lots of warmth, smiles, joy and laughter.  Know that you are loved and appreciated. Wishing you a very happy and joyous Mothers’ Day.

Men’s Group contribution

Clinton Isaacs

I greet you all in the wonderful and precious name of our saviour Jesus Christ. What an honour and privilege it is for me to do a tribute to all our mothers at this difficult time while we are experiencing the coronavirus and the lockdown, which prevents us from doing this personally at our church.

I have broken down the tribute into four scripture readings.  The first one is Psalm 139:13, “You put me together in my mother’s womb.”  How personally,  God himself creates and puts into every mother’s womb the children which they bear.

Scripture two.  “What a lioness your mother was; she reared her cubs among fierce male lions.”

With this birth comes responsibility and the responsibility involves the rearing of these kids  into responsible adults who contribute meaningfully every day into the communities and societies in which they find themselves.

Three.  Matthew 15:4 “Respect your parents.  Whoever curses his mother or father should be put to death.”  This is the value God attaches to every mother and parent in the lives of these children.  Put to deat, is the severity of the value he attaches to every single mother.

Scripture four:  “Make you mother and father proud.”  Give your mother that happiness, and isn’t that in a nutshell that every child should in turn reciprocate all the sacrifices, the pain, the deprivation in making their mothers happy.

I take this opportunity at this time to wish each and every mother a very and exceptional Happy Mothers’ Day, as you deserve.

Some of you have reared kids single handedly.  Some of you have had to be the educator, the priest, the sociologist, the psychologist, the disciplinarian, all on your own.  To that we salute you.

Mothers enjoy the day, as you have rightfully deserved it. Amen

Dr Egerton Hingston

On this our Mothers’ Day at St Paul’s Church I would have loved to meet and hug all the mothers in our parish to demonstrate to them how much we love and appreciate them for all they have done for us in the past years.

The present circumstances in the world with the advent of Covid-19 prevents us from meeting you all in person.  Somehow there is a way of reaching out to most of you to show you that we love and adore you dearly.  Mothers are one of the greatest gifts in life God has given us.

Proverbs 31: 25-26 states “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come; she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

In the midst of the uncertainty in the world we know the length you go to bring smiles to our faces, the courage you give us to go on and the constant assurance that this plague will pass and we will meet again and will embrace each other warmly.

No matter how old we are we crave for your motherly touch. You have sacrificed a lot to bring us to where we are today.  So on this your special day we say Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers at St Paul’s.

May God continue to bless you all abundantly.  Amen

Siyabonga Mkhize

Greetings to you all mothers.  As men of St Pauls we just want to wish you all a happy Mothers’ Day.

Even as we are all under lockdown even being affected and infected by the coronavirus, but in the midst of that we just want to wish you all with your families a healthy day and a healthy life.

And we are assured even in the word of the scripture that He will cover us under the shadow of his wings.  And with those few words we just want to say to you all wherever you may be with your families, a Happy Mothers’ Day.

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Sermon John 14: 1-14

The gospel reading for this Sunday from John 14: 1-14.  It begins with Jesus saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

At the time that Jesus was talking to his disciples they would certainly have been troubled:  Jesus was saying good bye to them.  In the previous chapter of John’s gospel, we read that Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet, but he had also told them that Judas would betray him and that Peter would later deny him.  Not very good news for them.   His disciples no doubt wondered how they could continue without him.

Our Context

We too may have troubled hearts, in a time of much grief in the world.  We all find ourselves in the same boat.  We know that we are vulnerable; there are things we cannot control, and the future is not clear.

The Promise of Jesus

Jesus tells his disciples that although there are difficult times ahead, he is certainly not abandoning them.  He reassures them by saying “believe in God and believe also in me.”

A Mansion

To reinforce what he is saying Jesus gives a wonderfully comforting image of a big house with many rooms to which they are invited.  He says, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” He says that his followers will be with him, and when they say they don’t know the way where he is going Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” They are to trust him.

In this troubled context Jesus offers this amazing image: a picture of hospitality, of generosity and of abundance.  It is an image with which we can all identify. We all have some experience of a home.

It is God’s home.  God welcomes us. In God’s household there is room for everyone. I like this image of God as the homemaker.

Relationships

But there is something more that Jesus is saying, or implying. And this for me is the good news.  Jesus is not offering something for the future.   God’s home is already with us.  We are invited to a life with God here and now.  In God we find our security; we are home already.  For it is relationships of unconditional acceptance and being infinitely valued and loved that make us feel at home.

Finally

Finally, while not wanting to confine the contribution of women to the domestic sphere alone, it is my experience that mothers, and others who care for children and nurture others, are important people in making a home that is welcoming and warm, where food is made and shared.  And in this they communicate to us in a very real way God’s care and love.  And so today, this Mothers’ Day, we express our gratitude to you all.

Amen