Sunday 11 September 2022, St Paul’s, Durban. Sermon is by Revd Thokozani Hlatshwayo.

Sermon: Today’s sermon is by Revd Thokozani Hlatshwayo, the Youth Chaplain of the Diocese. The text is found below.

NOTICES

Cell: 081 240 0964
031 305 4666

We thank our guest preacher, Rev. Thokozani Hlatshwayo, for celebrating and preaching this morning and the youth for their involvement in the parish.

Confirmation Candidates:

There will be a meeting in the small hall after the 9.15 service today for all confirmands.

Date of Fete 29 October

There is a large box near the pulpit to receive items. Please make your donations there or to the church office.

We will again appeal for parishioners to make donations for the fete through envelopes provided.

Planned Giving (PG) forms

PG forms are available at the desk. We encourage everyone to be on the PG Scheme. Thanks to all those who have been faithful to their giving.

Receipts for PG are available for collection. Please check your details are correct. In future, we would like to email the receipts.

Queen Elizabeth II:

At our service this Wednesday at 1pm we will remember the Queen.

International Clean Up Day: You are invited to join in on Saturday 17th at 10.00 to clean our church and the precinct.

The Durban Symphonic Choir:

This choir will be presenting a concert of Sacred Music with Christopher Cockburn on the organ at St Cyprian’s Church, 603 Umbilo Road, at 6:30 pm to 7: 30 pm on Friday 16 September. The cost is by donation, which will go to Kerr House. There will be light snacks and refreshments on sale in the hall after the concert.

Heritage Day Concert:

We are planning a fundraising concert on Saturday 24 September at 11.00. Tim Gunther from Germany and Melvin Peters will perform. Tickets are R100 each and R50 for pensioners and for children under 18.

Heritage Celebration on Sunday 25th

We invite parishioners to bring food to church representing their particular culture for us all to enjoy after the 9.15 service.

Please indicate to Mrs Doreen Senogue or Mrs Jabu Soni what food you intend to bring. The entrance cost to the hall will be R20 per person. You are invited to wear “traditional dress” that day. Following a tradition of the past, we will invite congregation members to offer the peace in a language that they are familiar with.

Provincial Standing Committee

This is the ACSA body that meets between Provincial Synods. Please pray for their next sitting that takes place (virtually) from 28-30 September.
Appointment of Rector: The congregation are encouraged to pray for the process leading up to the appointment of a new rector.

Rector’s farewell

The farewell service for the Rector is on Sunday 20 November 2022. Please keep this date in mind.

Report from Synod

Our Reps to Synod will provide a report back at our services today on the Synod held on 26 & 27 August.

Mothers’ Union

The Mothers’ Union will be having a meeting on Saturday 17th September in the Small Hall

Obituary

We regret to announce the tragic death of Matthew Oragwu which sad event took place on 5 September. May his soul rest in peace. A service for Matthew will be held at St Pauls on Thursday at 1pm.

Thanks and appreciation

Dolly Ndlovu Biscuits and Vegetables for Soup kitchen
Claudine Hingston R400 for flowers in thanksgiving for her birthday
Una Langeni- cleaning materials
Irene Pillay- 48 toilet papers
David Hughes- items for the Fete.
Doreen Senoge- cleaning materials & items for the Fete.
Irene Pillay- ingredients for the soup kitchen
Buyiswa Pukwana- items for the Fete
2 Parishioners (Anonymous) work uniform for the evening security guard (working
boots and winter jacket)

Needs of the church

A4 Papers, cleaning products (toilet paper, garbage bags, dishing washing liquid,
handy andy, bleach, jik, furniture polish, window cleaner, wax polish for floor)

Items for soup kitchen

Birthdays 11 to 17 September

11 Nontokoza Dludla
12 Glynnis Phillip, Nokukhanya Zibani
13 Nombuso Gasa, Luthando Mkhize
15 Claudine Hingston, Linelle Royeppen, Terrence Pillay
16 John Dennis

Wedding anniversary 11 to 17 September

14 Mandla & Akhona Hlatshwayo

St Paul’s Church Calendar: A list of dates for the remainder of the year is on the notice board. Any additions to these should be given to the church office.

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

E-mail: paulsdbn@mweb.co.za
Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za
Facebook: @stpdbn
Instagram: stpaulsdurban
Twitter:@StPaulsDbn

Sermon by Revd Thokozani Hlatshwayo

I greet you all in the Name of God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit Amen.

When we are Good and Lost Luke 15:1-10
“This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them” (from Luke 15:110). That’s what the Pharisees and scribes said about Jesus.

  • So how does that strike you?
  • What do you hear in those words?
  • Are they words of complaint and disagreement or ones of hope and invitation?

At one level the words of the Pharisees and scribes are simply a statement of fact. That’s what Jesus did.

He ate with tax collectors and sinners. Not only does Luke tell us this but so do Matthew and Mark. At another level they are an accusation, an indictment, and a judgment. In the eyes and words of the Pharisees and scribes Jesus is guilty of violating the law and social norms of the day. At the deepest level, however, their words are, ironically enough, a statement of the gospel. They have just spoken the good news. Jesus not only welcomes the sinners, he eats with them. Eating with them means there is relationship and acceptance. Jesus has aligned himself with them. He is on their side.

Throughout the gospel stories Jesus chooses to hang out with the wrong kind of people. That’s why in today’s gospel the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. He offered them something no one else could or would. That’s also why the Pharisees and scribes were grumbling. Jesus was breaking the law, crossing lines, and making God just a little too easily available.

I wonder if the fact that Jesus chooses to hang out with the wrong kind of people is why we might not hear these words of the Pharisees and scribes, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them,” as good news. The difficulty for most of us is that we don’t see ourselves as the wrong kind of people. To the contrary we try really hard to be the right kind of people. Sure there are times when we do and say the wrong things. Sometimes we are guilty. Generally, however, we behave and do what’s right, or at least we try to. We look, speak, and act the part expected of us. We love our spouse and children. We are honest in our business dealings.

We are kind and friendly to each other. We work hard, provide for our families, and help our friends. We support our troops and pledge our allegiance to the flag. We go to church and say our prayers. We care about the poor. We donate time, money, food, and clothes to those in need.

I’m not suggesting we need to make ourselves into the wrong kind of people, whatever that might be. I’m suggesting that we need a different starting point, not only for ourselves but also for each other.

The starting point for Jesus is grace: searching not blaming, finding not punishing, rejoicing not condemning. The first question for Jesus is not one of sin, who’s in and who’s out, or who gets a dinner invitation. For Jesus, everyone is already in.

Everyone is invited. The first question and primary concern is one of presence. Have we shown up or are we lost and missing? It seems that for many, maybe most, sin is a legal category that is primarily restricted to and declarative of physical behaviours rather than descriptive of conditions and
relationships. It’s seen as a judgment rather than a diagnosis. That’s why it’s often hard for us to hear this good news and to rejoice at the meals Christ offers and shares with the sinners and tax collectors. We often don’t think sin is about us. Compared to “those kind of people” we think we look pretty good. So did the Pharisees and scribes. For Jesus, however, the defining characteristic of sin is not misbehaviour but being lost.

Notice the parables Jesus offers. They’re not about being wrong. They are about being lost. A sheep is lost. A coin is lost. There is nothing about culpability, blame, or finding fault. That doesn’t seem to be Jesus’ concern. His concern is for the one that is lost, missing, absent. Jesus doesn’t explain how the lost one become lost. He doesn’t blame or judge. That’s not the issue. The issue for Jesus is recovering and reclaiming the lost.

No doubt we can be lost in the darkness of evil. We can and have throughout human history done terrible things to one another. But here’s the deal. We can also be really good and really lost at the same time. Think about it. We can be good, hard working, and successful in our career and still feel lost, without a true sense of direction or meaning.

We can be holding it all together and still be lost in the depths of grief or despair. We can be a good spouse, doing all the right things, giving all the right appearances, and still be lost in a loveless marriage. We can have a good reputation and be lost in questions of our own identity and purpose. We can be so busy and productive that we are lost to the wonder, beauty, and mystery of life. We can be financially secure and still be lost in fear. We can say and do all the right things and be lost in a secret life that is self-destructive and hurts others.

Jesus has enlarged the definition of sin. He has expanded the purview of grace. The Pharisees and scribes want to make it about the character of sinners and tax collectors. That happens whenever sin is defined as only a legal category of failed or aberrant behaviour. Jesus, however, makes it about God’s character. That’s the point of these two parable. They reveal God’s character, God’s grace, God’s way of being toward us revealed in and through Jesus.

That grace and character are revealed in Jesus’ searching, finding, and rejoicing. Those are not three different things, three separate actions or moments in time, but three manifestations of God’s one grace. They are the ongoing presence of God in Christ in each one of our lives. Depending on the circumstances of our lives we experience that grace differently, as searching, finding, or rejoicing. Ultimately, it means there is a place set for each one of at the table. We matter. We are desired by and important to God. This fellow who welcomes sinners and eats with them is constantly searching for us, finding us, and rejoicing over our presence at his table.

God Bless you all!!

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