St Paul’s, Durban: Sunday 24 October 2021 Sermon by Revd Thami Tembe

Services are on Sundays at 7.30am and 9.15am. Mask wearing, sanitising and social distancing are essential. No singing permitted. Temperatures and tracing details of those attending will be taken.

The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website.  It includes a presentation on Breast Cancer by Sinazo Mchiza– see text below.  (No children’s sermon)

A video regarding vaccination (and the text of it), received from the Archbishop’s COVID advisory team can be found here.

Sermon by Revd Thami Tembe (Mark 10: 46-52)

I greet you all, people of God, on this the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, the 30th Sunday of the year.

Today’s gospel reading is from Mark 10:46-52, and I will quote verses 50-52.  Verse 50: ‘Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here,” and they called the blind man to send to him.  “Take heart, get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has made you well.” Immediately the blind man regained his sight and followed Jesus on the way.’

In today’s gospel reading, people of God, we meet a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.  When he met Jesus Christ he prayed to him that he wanted to see again.

In Mark’s mind, in this gospel, Jesus Christ is the one who brings salvation to the Israelites.  His hidden charge and his teachings are a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God.  The story of Bartimaeus, people of God, is as much a story of call as it is a story of healing. Please note that the expression Bartimaeus followed Jesus along the way does not simply mean that he left everything and joined the crowd on the road to Jerusalem with Christ Jesus.

In Mark’s gospel the writing of this expression means that Bartimaeus followed Jesus Christ on the way of Christian discipleship.  He followed Jesus Christ on the way of the cross. Bartimaeus in this gospel reading is presented as a model of faith and commitment.  Wow, if people see you walking around what are you presenting to them as a Christian.  The story is mainly used to encourage the believers to be true followers and doers of Christianity.

Bartimaeus was in a sad place.  He was sitting by the roadside.  He was on the margins of life.  He needed that one thing, people of God; he needed to bring his life back.  He was forced to beg and was totally dependent on the charity of other people for him to live. His situation was hopeless.

For me he appears as a person with who had one kind of riches – faith in Christ Jesus; the commitment that he gives to Christ Jesus at that particular time. Others may say it was the faith of a desperate person because he wanted to see.  That’s fine, I am not going to dispute that, but it was faith that made him to commit to Christ Jesus.  So I ask you, people of God, do you have that faith in Christ Jesus? How is it helping you to cope in situations where you are down and don’t know what to do?

When Batimaeus heard that Christ Jesus was passing by, overcoming his pride and shame, he began to cry out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Here he was acknowledging that Christ Jesus was the son of God and that Christ Jesus was God himself. He saw life and salvation in Christ Jesus; that’s why he was not put off by what people were saying when they said, “Keep quiet!” Instead he cries even louder, “Jesus Christ, son of David, have pity on me.” What a statement.

He was not shut down by people who were criticising him. He was not shut off by people who think they known how to behave in front of certain people. He was not even shut off by the cliques that were around him at that particular time. Why? Because his eyes were blind but already they have seen the salvation that God had brought to him in Christ Jesus.  What a commitment.

Do you have that commitment? How many times has our ministry, people of God, being eager to follow Christ Jesus, been shut down by people around us. People that we trust, even members of our own families, and people in the church of God. Instead of encouraging you they would discourage you because they feel or say you cannot do it; you are not worthy. At times, people of God, being eager to follow Christ Jesus we are shut down by people who have never been to the mountain top with Christ Jesus like we do.  When that situation becomes known love them and commit yourself to Christ Jesus because it is Christ who calls and only him.

Jesus Christ stood still and said, “Call him.” Jesus Christ put everything on stop and called Bartimaeus to come to him.  He did not just call him, people of God, he called him for a purpose.  He knew that the love of God and the grace of God was going to be upon Bartimaeus and he was going to regain his sight.

Have you ever stood still when Christ Jesus calls you?  Have you ever stood still and called Christ Jesus to be with you as you commit yourself to him; or do you call him in passing while doing other things and say if I hit luck I will be with Christ Jesus?

People of God, when Bartimaeus heard that Jesus Christ was calling him he jumped to his feet; he forgot everything.  He knew Jesus Christ was calling him.  The first thing he did was to throw aside his cloak and he made his way to Christ Jesus.  People of God, in those days a cloak was one of the things of high value; it was the only thing that Bartimaeus had at that particular time.  When Christ Jesus called him he just threw it way. He went and left everything and committed himself to Christ Jesus who calls.

People of God, Bartimaeus at that time wanted nothing to come between him and him who calls.  He wanted Christ Jesus to deal with his blindness as a whole.  He wanted Christ Jesus to deal with the blindness of his sight and the blindness of his heart. Jesus Christ received him as he was and restored him.  What a story.

Have you ever done introspection to check if you have a cloak that is obstructing yourself from committing yourself to Christ Jesus? Have you ever thought how your cloak restricted you from jumping when Christ Jesus calls you.  Have you ever checked what your cloaks are?

People of God, we are too blind in many ways. Jesus Christ today is calling us to him.  He wants to make us well.  He wants us as we are so that he will restore us to his fullness.  He wants us to throw off our cloaks and come to him.  He wants us to put our pride aside.  He wants us to put everything that obstructs us from seeing him and being touched by him.  Why? Because he want to save us.  He wants us to commit ourselves to him because he is the God of grace and the God of love.

People of God, Jesus Christ knows us and he will never reject us from being sinners.  That is why even today he is asking us to throw out our cloaks and to commit ourselves to him and to each other in this parish.

Christ Jesus wants us to make the radical and non-compromising act of faith and trust in him when he calls.  He calls us because he wants to save us even from ourselves.  When Jesus calls he wants us to stop pretending.  He wants us to stop covering up what is needed from us to be restored.  He wants us to come to him because he knows what is lacking from us to commit ourselves to him.

Maybe our ministry and our calling in this parish are not going to the next level, people of God, because we are sitting at the roadside of life begging for wrong things from wrong people like Bartimaeus.  Maybe we are not committed 100% to him, even to each other. Many of us, people of God, are not growing in our service in this parish because we think we know all and are embarrassed to ask for help. Maybe it is that help that will take us to the next level of commitment to God.

One day a priest was preaching in his parish and there was this man who always came barefooted to the church and when he preaches he would always shout Hallelujahs and Amen.

One day the priest was annoyed and after the service said to this man, “next Sunday the bishop is coming to do confirmation.  If you don’t say Amen and Hallelujah for the whole service I will buy you beautiful leather shoes.  When Christ Jesus was with him, while the bishop was praying he was captured by the Holy Spirit.  He found himself shouting “Amen and Hallelujah, shoes or no shoes, Amen Hallelujah I want to commit myself to you Christ Jesus.”

Maybe today Christ Jesus wants us to call him.  He wants us to throw off our cloaks and shout Amen Hallelujah, Amen Hallelujah, shoes or no shoes, we want to commit ourselves to you.  We too, people of God, are blind.  Maybe we need one thing, grace and love comes from God that will make us to recommit to ourselves to God.  Grace and Peace. Amen.

 Presentation in Service on Breast Cancer by Sinazo Mchiza

Breast Cancer

  1. What is Breast Cancer?

Our bodies are made up of cells that generate and eventually die. All cells have a life cycle – some cells may misbehave and not carry out their normal like cycle. In the case the cells multiply to the point that they form a tumor which invades the bodies normal cells and tissues.

Most Breast Cancer (85% to 90%) begin in the lining of the milk duct, sometimes in the Lobule. Eventually it grows through the wall of the duct and into the fatty tissue.

  1. Signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer

 Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone

 Swelling of all or part of the breast

 Breast asymmetry – when one breast has a different size, volume, position or form from the other breast

 Skin irritation or dimpling

 Breast of nipple pain

 Nipple retraction

 Redness, scaliness, thickening of the nipple of breast skin

 Nipple discharge – spontaneous, may be bloody, pale yellow transparent fluid

  1. How is Breast Cancer diagnosed?

 One way is through a Mammography.

 Women should be familiar with how their breasts feel and look so they can report changes to their medical professional.

  1. How is Breast Cancer treated?

 Surgery – A surgery where doctors cut out cancer tissue

 Chemotherapy – Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells

 Hormonal therapy – Blocks cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments

 Biological therapy – Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments

 Radiation therapy – Using high energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells

  1. Way to reduce your Breast Cancer Risk

 Lifestyle changes i.e. Do not smoke, limit or avoid alcohol

 Breastfeeding

 Be physically active

 Control your weight

 Avoid exposure to radiations

  1. How can we detect Breast Cancer early?

 Practice routine self-exams

 Know your risks and family history

 Visit tour healthcare provider regularly

 Know when to get a mammogram

 Follow-up after screening or testing

 In South Africa – one in 26 women is at risk of Breast Cancer

 Let us not ignore males when there is a breast complaint, because 1% of Breast Cancer occurs in males

 Early screening is the best tool we have now to detect Breast Cancer at an early stage – when its more treatable. It’s not dangerous to your health if it can save your life. Early detection reduces deaths, extends life expectancy and improves quality of life for Breast Cancer patients

 Early detection through mammography also mean less extensive surgery, fewer mastectomies and less frequent or aggressive chemotherapy

 Breast Cancer is on the top 5 list of the most common cancers in the world


Did you know?

2.1 million women are impacted by Breast Cancer each year globally.


During this difficult time of the global pandemic, 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