Greetings in Jesus’ name on Sunday 19 September 2021, the Third Sunday of the Season of Creation.
Services are this Sunday at 7.30am and 9.15am. Mask wearing, sanitising and social distancing are essential. Temperatures and tracing details of those attending will be taken.
The full Service Slides including the hymns and prayers for this Sunday may be found on our website. .
A video regarding vaccination (and the text of it), received from the Archbishop’s COVID advisory team, to be played at each service, can be found here.
This morning the vaccination video follows the sermon.
Sermon by Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu (Mark 9:30-37)
“Mmmhhh mmmhhh mmmhhh Coffee and cremora , Yep cremora, where did she put it?
“she knows I like my Cremona and now she hides it, Cremora, Cremora, HEY there is no cremora in the refrigerator”
“It is not inside, it is top”
“it is not inside it is Onnnn TOP”
My brothers and sisters allow me to borrow this image of the old Cremona advert, which has been recently returned to our screens.
This advert is a parable about the fault assumptions, false expectations, and maybe even about the naivety and the stupidity of not seeing the obvious.
It is about looking in a wrong place for something and not seeing the obvious.
In the Gospel reading, we just read this morning Mark begins with Jesus and His disciples travelling through Galilee.
It is during this journey that Jesus tells his disciples about His death and resurrection. Even though it was his second time mentioning His death but still his disciples seems to not get it.
To them the “Son of Man” is supposed to be powerful and influential.
Not week and vulnerable, not someone who will be conquered by His enemies and die at their hands.
To them it makes no sense that God’s own Son will suffer and die.
Mark’s narrative journeys with them until they arrive at Capernaum, where Jesus ask his disciples “What were you discussing out on the road?”
Even though they don’t answer Him, but Jesus seems to know that there were arguing over who is the greatest among them.
In a society where survival of the fittest seems to the reality of life, trying to figure out your position in the pyramid sounds reasonable. Being on top of the pyramid gives one access to better life.
In ancient Mediterranean society, “greatness” could be achieved through the acquisition of honor, honor which was mostly associated with wealth and wealth was usually connected to the acquisition of land.
So, if you were poor and have no land, you were considered “Less”.
The disciples don’t question this system, but they instead argue over who can best participate in the system and rise above the others.
By so doing, He would have achieved, and considered “Great”
Jesus, response “whosever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else” challenges this idea and system.
And to demonstrate this, Mark says he put a “little child among them” and took the child to his arms and said, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me not only welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me”
Why a Child?
In the ancient world, the status and rights of children stood at the bottom of the social scale/pyramid, there was just no one else beyond the child.
They were the “little ones”
The least in the society.
Who are the “little one” of our modern world?
Who are those Jesus would put on his arms?
Who are those, Jesus is inviting us to welcome?
God is not too far from us; God is in those little ones that come to your mind as you grapple with these questions.
Unless we welcome them, we will forever be waiting for an already present Jesus.
God is here among us; God is where we wouldn’t expect Him to be.
He is in those whom we consider the least, the dependent ones
The vulnerable one, those with less voices to the community rather than those most influential
And those whom we most expect to find Him with.
Those whom the society considers as fit, wise, and knowledgeable.
The humility in those who are vulnerable, powerless, marginalized, opens up a space for them to see and respond faithfully to God’s presence and power.
I wonder if this is not an invitation for us this morning
An invitation of hosting Christ, through those we find it difficult to associate ourselves with.
Those at the bottom of the pyramid, those different from us
Because of their Colour, gender, sexuality, age etc.
Those whom the society see as weak and unclean.
Those whose ideas find no space in our minds.
Those whose lives challenges that ideas that divides us.
Because it is through their unheard voices that we can discern God’s voice calling us to God’s Kingdom presence. To God’s Kingdom
I wonder if what we think is hidden in the refrigerator is just in front of our eyes.
What we think is hidden in the greatest of us, is in the least of us.
What we think is hidden in the rich, powerful, and influential, is in marginalized, powerless, and unheard minorities.
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