Dear People of God
Greetings in Jesus’ name on Sunday 11 July 2021.
Today is Sea Sunday.
Revd Thami Tembe, the chaplains for the Mission to Seafarers, send us a video for us to view. This multilingual service contains singing, inputs by chaplains, sermons, and prayers, including by Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu.
Our Acting Vicar-General, Canon Bellina Mangena is one of the preachers.
The text of Canon Mangena’s sermon may found below.
Services: Because of lockdown regulations there will be no services at 7.30am and 9.15am in the church this Sunday.
Sermon by Canon Bellina Mangena, Acting Vicar-General (Matthew 8: 23-27)
Regular church goers are familiar with the story of Jesus stilling the storm. Jesus is said to have been asleep when the storm arose and preachers tell us it is mentioned to show that Jesus was so human he also got tired and dozed off like we do.
Whether or not Jesus was asleep does not matter. Truth is he was there; the disciples were not on their own. We have read the story so many times that we think we know and understand it. The reality is that the only people who can really understand this story are seafarers for whom sea storms are a lived reality and they have a whole lot of other storms in their line of work.
We love drama and excitement and so we focus on the storm in the story. Is it really about the storm? I want to draw your attention to the fact that the story is about following Jesus or discipleship.
In the section just above this story Jesus was teaching about discipleship or the cost of discipleship. The first action we read about is the disciples following Jesus. Then a storm arose. The NIV says “without warning a furious storm came to the land.”
As people who like to make choices; because I am human I feel the urge to choose what or who to focus on. One of many storms that randomly come up, or Jesus the only son of God who is ever present.
The disciples got it right this time. When they were confronted with a sudden storm they appealed to Jesus even as he was sleeping. They knew without knowing that Jesus was the only one who would rescue them. They did not cry to the captain or other experienced sailors but to the carpenter’s son who is the Christ sent to redeem us.
Jesus prioritised his disciples over the storm. He did not allow the storm to distract him. He did the most important thing – he challenged their faith. In other words he was reminding them of the first and great commandment: to love God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Will you love God with all our being, not fearing anything because nothing else matters. Then he got up and rebuked the storm. He did not panic and was controlled. How often do we allow unplanned and uninvited things to distract and control us?
I like the way Jesus used the storm to call his disciples and us to fail. People talk about using lemons to make lemonade. You can either be miserable about their sour taste or make the lemonade and enjoy it if you are grounded in our faith. Let us not allow storms to distract and control us. Let us not be swayed by every and any wind.
God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that all who believe in him should not perish but have ever lasting life. Our eternal life is already paid for. Let us not wallow in random storms. Let us wear our masks over our mouths and noses, sanitise regularly and keep a safe distance from everyone, keeping our faith in the one whom even the storms obey.
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