Sunday Sermon by Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu. 21 February 2021


Collect: Zoh Mdhladhla
Sermon: Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu
Prayers: Judith Serafim

Services: We have resumed services on a Sunday at 7.30am and 9.15am.

Service Outline

INTROIT: Forty days and forty nights CP 95


God of our salvation,
your bow in the clouds
proclaims your covenant with every living creature:
grant us your Spirit, renew us in our baptism,
and make us faithful stewards of your creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. AMEN

FIRST READING: 1 Peter 3: 18-22

PSALM: 25:1-10
GRADUAL: Jesus, lover of my soul CP 96
GOSPEL: Mark 1: 9-15
CREED: Apostles (APB pg 58)
OFFERTORY: Be thou my vision CP 386
RECESSIONAL: Take up thy cross CP 582 (verses: 1, 2, 5 & 6)

Sermon Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu

The Gospel reading, we just read this morning starts from Jesus’ story of baptism.

Jesus gets baptized, He sees heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And the voice we heard on last week’s gospel also appears here.

The voice we heard last, as we celebrated Jesus’ transfiguration (Chap 9) appears here, Almost the same message is said, here down in the river the message is said directly to Jesus “You are my son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased”, in last week’s gospel, up there in the mountain the message is said in the third person “This is my son, whom I love, listen to Him”.

Jesus is the Son of God, whom he loves, whether up there with Moses and Elijah.

Or down there in the river, where everybody else get baptised.

The same Spirit that just descended on Him on His baptism, sends him out into the wilderness, for 40 days where he meets the devil and get tempted.

Unlike the other Gospel writers, Mark leaves it to us a picture of what happens between Jesus and the devil.

What Mark does tells us is that Jesus was not alone, He was with wild animals and the angels attended Him.

In other words, Jesus spent His time away from people, but closer to the rest of the creation. Even dangerous wild animals enjoyed spending time with him, they were there for Him at the time where He needed Company.
Jesus gets baptized so that He can proclaim the gospel (The good news).

He is baptized and tested so that he can announce the coming of God’s kingdom on Earth

As soon as Jesus comes back from the mountain, He goes to Galilee to preach and share good news

As much as Jesus proclaims this Good news, but they do not just come cheap, they require one to repent.
Not just to only turn away from their wrong doings
But to also think about the good they did not do.

Remember our Anglican words of confession “Almighty God, our heavenly father, in penitent we confess, that we have sinned against you through our own fault, in thoughts, word and deeds, and in what we have left undone…”

So, repentance is not only about the wrongs we have done, but also the good we have not done.

It is not just about me throwing a bottle or plastic bag on the street.

But it is also about me not challenging to one who does it in my presence.

It is about me walking past litter and do nothing.

It is about me not challenging the systems that results poverty, GBV, Racial, gender and sexual discrimination.

Mark seems to suggest that repentance is important before the coming of the Kingdom of God.

So, it is important for the one who preaches the good news, to also preach repentance.

If one wants to believe in the good news, they need to repent.

So, repentance in necessary for the arrival of Good news.

News of the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

But maybe we might ask ourselves

  • What is this Kingdom of God that Mark is talking about?
  • Is it seeing a man with a big beard flying on the sky?

I certainly do not think so

The Kingdom of God means not just a better life after death. It is God’s way to put right all that is wrong in this world.
It means a New perfect life for all
A life without poverty
A life without Gender based violence
A life without Xenophobic and homophobic attacks
A peaceful life
We all the role to play in bringing about this new life
Our role comes through REPENTANCE
Repentance to both our personal and social sins.

We are called to minister the good news of this Kingdom

We are called to challenge the unjust systems of this society
and it is only when we respond to this calling that we can participate in God’s ministry of bringing about New Life A life where the yoke that burdens us have been shattered.

As we have began lent, let us reflect both on our contributions to the ills of our society.

Let us also reflect on the good things we can do for those in need, I am sure some of us will be spending less on certain items as an act of self-discipline.

Can I challenge you, to use whatever you might have saved, to do some good for those in need.

Prayers Judith Serafim

Let us pray
Loving God, as our minds focus on Jesus’ journey to the cross we bow our lives in awe before you.

Lord, may our praise for you never cease in this season. May our worship be unending. May our love for you find new depths. We pray for the whole family of your church; may all your people be built up in faith and show in their lives the love we see in Jesus. Help us to play our part in the life of the church throughout the world, by our payers for all people, by our gifts of money and service.

We pray for all in positions of authority and leadership in every nation, especially in South Africa and Africa, that they would make the correct decisions for their people.

Forty days alone, a wilderness of thoughts, tempting and inviting thoughts which could so easily have distracted you from your task, your mission, your mission. Yet you emerged stronger and more attuned to all that had to be done despite a time of constraints that to our eyes would have seemed hopeless.

We live in strange times, so much uncertainty as a result of the pandemic has made us easily distracted in the wilderness of our lives. We listen to the voices of this world and ignore the one who endured all this and so much more and emerged triumphant so that we might not have to suffer. So forgive us, Father, when we get distracted from our tasks. Forgive us those times when we try to be all things to all men and fail to be anything to anyone.

You were a man of suffering, acquainted with grief, loved and despised in equal measure. You understand humanity, know our failings, love us despite the people we are. When when we, like Peter, deny you by your word or action; forgive us. When we like Judas are tempted to follow a different path, forgive us. When we like those in the crowd allow for you to be crucified, forgive us. Bring us to the foot of the cross to stand next to the one who, looking into your eyes declared, surely, this is the Son of God.

Forgive those things that have caused you sadness and those things we should have done that would have brought you joy. In both we have failed ourselves and you. Bring us back to a place where your journey began when we said that we would follow the way that you first trod. Lead us to the cross and meet us there.

Jesus, Lamb of God, when you walked this earth you did not consider heavenly equality though that was yours to choose, but took the role of a servant and in humility and obedience allowed the rough nails of our sin to be hammered to your flesh for the sake of our salvation. And so it is in that that we acknowledge you as Lord of all to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Father in heaven, the light of your truth bestows such to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of your forgiveness and the gift of your light. May this season bring new hope and new healing.

May we journey towards the cross both prayerfully and purposefully even through the pain our doubts our questions and our searching. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen

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