Kimberley and Kuruman delegates episcopal election

The Elective Assembly of the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman met on the 19th and 20th of April to consider electing a bishop. Following several rounds of voting, the decision about a new bishop was delegated to the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. 

Please pray for the Vicar General, Canon Carol Starkey, as she continues her responsibilities; for the five people who had offered themselves as candidates; and for the diocese as a whole. Please pray, too, for wisdom for the Bishops who will elected the new bishop.


Kimberley Reflections – 13 June – Revd Martha Sejeso

Morning my sisters and brothers in Christ.
Our reflections this morning are guided by Psalm 18: 1-31, Numbers 3: 1-13 and Galatians 6:11-18.
This morning we will look at the last section of the letter of Paul to the Galatians. Pauls says in Galatians 6:14 “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”. To be a Christian is not an easy task and it requires us denying ourselves. It requires our allegiance to be shown not by worship and words only but also by how we live our lives.
Furthermore Galatians 2:20 says “and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me”. We are representatives of Christ and we make him known in this world by doing the will of God. This should be our daily task no matter where we find ourselves whether at church or at home. For at times we want to act differently depending where we find ourselves.
A story is told of a wife and a husband. They were having problems in their home. The wife was a person who had two personalities. One personality she had was of a faithful church goer. The other personality she had was one of a bad person in her house and to her husband. She struggled to take the husband to church because he knew about her two personalities. He once went to church and saw how lovely the wife would be when she was at church and he thought to himself, if this religion condones people to pretend in the midst of their God but live lives that are hurtful to others when they exit the gates of the church, then I would not go to worship here as it does not encourage a life that their God (Jesus) lived.
“From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body” (Galatians 6:17). Today we do not have, like Paul, marks on our bodies, but we still represent Christ in the world. How then do we then distinguish ourselves from the world? How do people know we are Christians? The answer to these questions, I would like to believe, depends on how we live our daily lives. The way we treat our neighbours, how we treat our families or even a stranger on the corner of a street. We do not cease to be Christians when we think no one is watching us.
I wonder, if we as Christians had marks on our foreheads that state “I am a Christian”, would we then act more like Christians when not in the vicinity of the church? We know early Christians had a debate about the symbol of being circumcised and that entailed that they were to become and align themselves with their religion. However, for Paul it was not about being circumcised or not, it was about being a new person in Christ.
I would like to suggest that every day allows us an opportunity to become better Christians. Christians who seek to be like Christ in all corners of their lives, not by words only but by deeds. As the first Letter of John 3:18 states “Little children, let us love not in word or speech but in truth and action”.
I would like to conclude with the concluding verses of a beautiful morning hymn by John Keble, verses 4 & 5.
“The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we need to ask
room to deny ourselves
a road to bring us daily nearer God
Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
fit us for perfect rest above;
and help us, this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray.”
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters, Amen. (Galatians 6:18).
Rev Martha Seteso

Kimberley Reflections – Feast of St Barnabas – Revd Martha Sejeso

REFLECTIONS posted by the Revd MARTHA SETESO this morning – Feast of St Barnabas
Good day sisters and brothers in Christ.
These are reflections guided by today’s Morning Prayer readings – Psalm 25, 67; Ecclusiasticus 31:3-11 and Acts 4:32-37.
We see in Acts the Church in its early days and the disciples just starting off. When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left them with great power and multitudes; however, they had to structure their way of doing ministry and that entailed also the finances being managed for the health and wellbeing both of the church and the people’s livelihoods. Those who were well off were asked to share their possessions so that the poor were fed and clothed.
We see St Barnabas, whom we are commemorating today, stepping up to the call of the disciples to share his possessions. He sells his field and gives all at the feet of the disciples. The faith that he had in the church is visible in the act that he does by selling and giving all to God. He is not the only one; many gave in order to give life to the church and to individuals who truly needed their help.
Acts 20:35 says “more blessed is the hand that gives, than the hand that receives”. This is true in all its senses. We are called like the first disciples to continue to give even during this difficult time. In giving to the Church it is not giving to the priest or leadership; it is giving to God. We give so that the work of God may continue, so that the church may continue its mission.
St Barnabas and all the others who were moved to give their possessions were not forced, for the reading states that “the whole group was of one heart and soul” (Acts 4: 32). The early church had Jesus at the heart of their mission. Everything they did was referenced to the way and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was at the centre of the church. Is Jesus at the centre of the Church today? Or did we somehow remove Jesus along the way? Did we place ourselves to be worshipped? Just as in the early church, where there were struggles in being the Church of God, the body of Christ.
Yet we should strive to be of one heart and one soul, a unified body of Christ. We are called to be many parts in the body of Christ but this should in no way divide us; it should rather unify us in seeking to be an ‘able body of Christ.’ A body of Christ which seeks to do well towards those it cares for and looks after. A Body of Christ which seeks no glory for itself but dedicates all glory to God.
My brothers and sisters, like the first Christians, we ought to examine ourselves. We ought to inspect the manner in which we are taking part in the body of Christ. Ask ourselves the most difficult questions. We need to ask: Does the Church need me? If we do not understand, replace ‘the Church’ with ‘God’. The answer we will get will push us to be like St Barnabas and give a helping hand to keep the mission and vision of the church in motion. Let us, even in difficult times, keep the body of Christ able.
Amen. Blessings.
Revd. Martha Seteso

Kimberley Reflections – Feast of St Barnabas – Archdeacon Thomas Mhuriro

Homily on the Feast of St Barnabas : The Ven Dr Thomas Mhuriro
On the Feast of St Barnabas (transferred from 11 June because of Corpus Christi this year).
We have been sharing reflections together this week and I would like to conclude by raising some questions that could benefit our commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ in this world using the readings for today.
Barnabas, the Apostle we are celebrating today is described in Acts as, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord” because of his work (Acts 11:24). We also note that, among his good deeds, was the fact that he took Paul — who once upon a time had been one of the major persecutors of the Church — as his partner on his first missionary journey. We know that some authorities interpret the name Barnabas as “son of encouragement”. We see this happening so well in his work.
The reading from Job exposes to us what a good person does. We hear Job saying that his good reputation precedes him; he helps the poor and orphans who cry out to him; those in deepest misery and widows were assisted by him; he always acts justly and fairly; he is the eyes for the blind and feet for the lame; he is also a father to the poor and pleads the cause of strangers who might find themselves in trouble. (Job 29: 11-16).
In the gospel, the new commandment is advanced: “Love one another! The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them.” (John 15:12ff). Please note that Jesus did not just say these good things about love. He actually proceeded to demonstrate what this could involve. Words and deeds do not always match, and we need to guard against this. Loving one another is the greatest sermon we could preach to challenge our hating world. That love must be practical and not just theoretical like we are so used to witnessing today, within the Church and outside. One wonders whether the word love is not one of the most abused of all. All Christians seem to take it for granted and yet what our Lord teaches about it goes far deeper than we could imagine.
On the feast of St Barnabas, we need to ask ourselves the following sincere questions:
1. What is our understanding of being good Christians in the fashion of St Barnabas? What do you think was key to the partnership of Barnabas and Paul?
2. The story of Job was written many centuries before Jesus Christ. Please may you read again the passage given today: How does our own faith in God compare with what is being said here?
3. Given all the good sermons we have ever listened to in our lives, why is it that we do not see much change for the better in the world? What is it that we are doing wrong as Christians in the world? Why was Christ emphasising the issue of Love in his parting words?
To God be the glory. Amen.

Kimberley Reflections – Being faithful to God’s law – Archdeacon Thomas Mhuriro

Eucharist Service: 10 June 2020
1 Kings 18:20-39; Psalm 16:5-11; Matthew 5:17-19
In today’s homily, I would like to briefly share with you my reflections as influenced by the reading from 1 Kings and the passage from the Gospel of Matthew. My urgent concern here is to show how the two readings are dealing with the same theme from two different angles. For us to appreciate what is at stake, we need to look at what the prophet Elijah was dealing with in his own context and try to link this development to the Sermon on the Mount.
Many times, when we hear the word law, we obviously think of two things: how it is kept and how it is broken. Of course, what comes to mind are the civil laws that serve many societies we might be familiar with. Any country that has no laws of some sort runs the risk of anarchy, where citizens will do exactly as they wish. Their fancies and whims dictate their daily conduct. If we had such countries where anarchy was the order, the chances of their continued survival would be very minimal.
Though laws are the backbone of any civilisation, they are not always followed, hence we end up having to come up with rehabilitation centres such as our Correctional establishments, where character formation will have to be reworked for the benefit of society.
Let us look at the first reading in its proper context. The people involved are the Israelites under king Ahab and under the watchful eye of the famous prophet Elijah. What is clear is that the laws of God had been forgotten, people having a choice to go astray. In this case they were attracted by an imaginary pagan god by the name Baal. The popularity of this god could not be underestimated because we hear that present on Mount Carmel on the day our passage narrates, were about 450 prophets dedicated to the worship of Baal. In a liberal age such as our own, perhaps this could not be much to talk about. But we are talking about the Israelites here! The Law in this context was not just a civil affair.
Remember the Shema in the book of Deuteronomy which we must take for granted was known to all the Israelites of that time. Listen again to what it says:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
It is clear that Elijah was faced with a king who had rebelled against God and was teaching his people to do the same. But in the spirit of the law before us, there was no room for this kind of behaviour and hence Elijah was taking the king, and all those who were lost, to task. Of course, the details of how the prophets of Baal were defeated are found in the passage. The conclusion of that passage states the following: “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God” (1 Kings 18:39). This is clearly an affirmation of the Shema that we find in the book of Deuteronomy. We need however to be reminded that the term Law when looking at the scriptures, has a much wider application and hence refers to the first five books of the Bible. However, we must bear in mind that in those five books, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the urgent theme is to affirm only one point, namely, The Lord indeed is God and he is One.
Our Lord Jesus is therefore affirming those books and saying that he did not come to edit them but to allow them to be understood in full. You could also appreciate the fact that by so saying, Christ agrees with Elijah, who confronts people of his own time with the same truth. Jesus asserts that the teachings in the Prophets, meaning the rest of the books after Deuteronomy are equally important. Those who want to be great before God must teach them and affirm them in their lives. Those who disregard their teachings and teach others to do the same would have no status before God. It challenges us to think of King Ahab, someone expected to be great before God by virtue of having been anointed for this purpose, choosing other gods and therefore misleading the people he was expected to guide.
Today we should submit ourselves before God asking him to be faithful to his law. If we all were to understand the lordship of God over the whole universe, we could order our lives in ways that are pleasing to him. We must note that reference to other gods simply means missing the point of this life. There are no other gods out there. To worship other gods could be likened to madness. When people have lost their minds, whatever they imagine will carry the day. The story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal is a good illustration of mad people who worshipped an imaginary god. Sometimes we do not seem to give much attention to these stories because we do not see how they address our contexts. Yet if we look around, you will agree with me that one big problem we have is that we no longer believe in one God but have managed to create many of our own. These gods could be power, money, social and economic status, popularity, and all those that encourage us to drift away from the God who created us. The relationship we have with the God revealed to us through Jesus Christ will never change or come to an end. Woe to all of us if we think that our various forms of rebellion will change the state of affairs. Jesus is warning us to remain steadfast in our understanding of the one and only God and to uphold everything else that has been taught by those inspired to do so over the years.
To God be the glory.

Kimberley Reflections – John the Baptist – Revd Martha Sejeso

Good evening my Sisters and brothers.
This evening’s reflections are guided by the Gospel according to John 1: 29-34.
We encounter the testimony of John the Baptist, that Jesus is the Son of God who cometh to take away the sin of the world. John is probably one of the few people who played a vital role in the life and ministry of Jesus in a short span of time. Yet in this short amount of time, John the Baptist could testify to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah sent to the world to take away our sins.
John the Baptist is probably the one character in the story of God and humanity that is fascinating. He wasn’t the conventional prophet that would be seen around the teachers of the law and the life of the temple. However, John lived a life isolated and dedicated to preaching repentance.
John the Baptist directed everything to Jesus; even in his preaching of repentance he made sure that he drew all attention from himself. He directed all to Jesus. John was called by God to prepare the world for the arrival of the Messiah who was to save the world from sin. John testifies that Jesus is the Son of God. John shows the way to Jesus. John reveals the reason why Jesus is in the world today. Jesus was the ‘Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Jesus is referred to by John, as the Lamb of God and Son of God. John states three important facts about Jesus and his ministry. Firstly, that Jesus is the Son of God and they share their nature. Secondly, that Jesus is the Lamb of God; this includes both God and humanity: Jesus, in his whole life, lived for God and for humanity. Jesus made the world a better place by bringing the Kingdom of God to earth and joining us to God. God knows us fully because of Christ and we are always invited to know God because of Christ. Thirdly John also testifies that Jesus received the Holy Spirit and he would baptise others in the Holy Spirit.
The life and ministry of Jesus is connected to both God and humanity. The person of Jesus is both fully God and fully Human. The death of Jesus signified the sacrifice of the Lamb of God to take away the sins of humanity. God works with his people, for his people. We need to validate the fact that even today is it very much coming to our senses that God works with us wherever we may be.
Like John the Baptist, let us not look at what we can gain from spreading the Gospel but rather let us live for the spreading of the Gospel. Let us point to the world the way to Christ through our deeds. Let us become faithful servants in whatever aspect of our lives. Let us live for the Body of Christ.
Revd Martha Sejeso
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) Magnificat & Nunc dimittis from The Services in B flat, Op 10 Choir of Durham Cathedral Keith Wright, Organist James La…

Kimberley Reflections – On the Trinity – Archdeacon Thomas Mhuriro

Today we celebrate the only Sunday in our liturgical year that is named after a doctrine or Christian teaching. We are looking at ideas that have come to us through centuries and constituting a subject that requires more than just a 10-minute reflection. This year we also celebrate this Solemnity of the Trinity under the uncomfortable heat and dust of the global pandemic that is doing havoc to our lives. The latter makes it so challenging to convince anyone that it is essential to spend time worrying about the nature of God as understood over the years more than what could be said today. The reading from Genesis states that every deed and response of God in this context brought pleasure to Him. Today you and I must still agree on what that goodness really embraces in a world that is so threatening.
What exactly is the Trinity from a considerably basic appreciation of the teaching? I am at pains to simplify this teaching being aware that big minds have deliberated on this subject in more detailed and in-depth fashions. In the course of the week, we were alerted by the book of Ecclesiastes (5), that it is more important to listen that to talk and I find it more appealing when we want to understand the exact nature of God. Those whose reflections have made attempts that have given us the doctrine of the Trinity have left us with more problems than solutions.
The following questions could help us appreciate the complexity of the task before us:
1. Is it really possible for our minds to comprehend God in such a way as to be able to say the last word about this Being who is far above our minds?
2. When we say that God is three in one, what exactly are we describing?
3. Does our faith in God fail if we are not able to articulate the doctrine of Trinity?
We could expand the above questionnaire but only to demonstrate the fact that the talk about God is no walk over. Someone shared with me this fascinating story about a man who sent his two sons to a theological school so that they could learn something about God. When they had finished their training, they came back home and naturally, the father expected to learn also from his two sons. Indeed, the younger son was upbeat about how much of God he had learnt! He could articulate on blessings, grace, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments and everything else that could prove that he had learnt all about God. The elder son had no words! He was now even quieter than he had been before training. The father realised that actually, between the two, the one who was quiet had learnt something more about God than the talkative one. The mark of one who is ignorant of God is a sustained tendency to exaggerate their knowledge about him.
We all have been made to understand the doctrine of the Trinity as having, at its centre, our appreciation of God the father, whom we associate with creation as given in the passage of Genesis we shared today; God the son, Jesus Christ, whom we associate with the redemption of humanity; and the Holy Spirit associated with the sanctification of creation. The Nicene Creed we recite captures for us these three dimensions. In our baptism, through confirmation, we are supposed to have been exposed to some knowledge about the creed. But does that say everything about God? Could we reduce the nature of God to a mathematical formula and sit back thinking that we have done a good job?
There is a school of thought that reminds us that God is a mystery. Of course, we humans are curious to the extent that we would like to solve this mystery. However, on this one we are also reminded that because the mysteriousness of God is beyond comprehension, no attempts could help us solve this problem. To this end, instead of thinking about a mystery that could be solved, we are actually faced with one that needs to be appreciated for what it is. I do not want to discourage our habits of making reference to God from time to time but it is clear to me that the more we think that we are familiar with the nature of God, the more we should interrogate our convictions.
It is curious that Jesus Christ, did not articulate for us the doctrine of the Trinity. Various references he made to God the father were always punctuated by cautions. No one therefore could cite Jesus as the one who said the last word about God. Therefore, we also should never think that we could work out the last word with our limited minds. We can only make attempts to understand the work and nature of God but could never comprehend it in full.
I personally tend to agree with those who teach that the only suitable response we should render to God is an appreciation of his goodness which we should also try by all means to put into practice. When the Bible teaches us about God, there is only one word that is put before us: Love. We must render that love to God first and to one another. We are told that everything else should follow from this. Perhaps we could also begin to think of the Trinity in terms of Love because it is the only power that could unite. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit should be understood in terms of the love shown to us by God and that which we should emphasise amongst ourselves as humans. If God is one and yet three, it really means that as humans, it is possible to be so many and yet united. To this end, the Trinity is not so much a description of God but an invitation to us who have been created for fellowship and are constantly being encouraged to promote it amongst ourselves.
If we are honest with all the gifts that we attribute to God in our lives, nothing could surpass that of love. One observer recently pointed out that even today under the restrictions that have been imposed on us by the Covid-19, one of the challenges we are having is the inability to live our love to the full. We are created to be social beings and nothing could substitute the love that we are supposed to share amongst ourselves and with our Creator.
It is therefore important to stop worrying about having the right formula of who God is and to start focusing on how to share the life we were given out of love. What could it benefit anyone to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity and yet fail to uplift others in the process? One man was asked whether he was Christian or not. His brief answer was: “Ask my neighbours”. Indeed, it is the way we live that will define who we are more than the claims we lake for ourselves.
Jesus’s parting words in the gospel have to do with a command and encouragement to go out into the world and teach others to obey God. This we do not do by articulating theological concepts but by showing others what it means to live for God.
Today we have seen the world uniting against the pandemic. We also have seen the world standing up to condemn racism in no uncertain terms. I see it as a challenge among us Christians, who have a tendency of separating our faith from our deeds, that we are celebrating Trinity Sunday with all these developments around us. A united world could be a better example of the oneness and the Threeness of God. The big question is, where do we stand as Anglicans in the face of all this?
To God be the glory. Amen.

Kimberley Reflections – 25 May – Dean Reginald Leeuw

Joshua 1:1-9
Greetings dear friends and May the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us, now and forever more. Amen
Today we celebrate The Venerable Bede teacher of Faith, AD 735. We thank God for his “Monastic fidelity and for his love of teaching” and for using all the resources available to write the most complete history of Christian England up to the year 729, as well as commentaries of books of the Bible. We thank God for his witness.
Today we also celebrate Africa Day and this year’s theme is “Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development”, to achieve the goal of a conflict-free Africa. We pray for peace, selfless leadership, development and freedom. We also pray today for victims of war, displaced people of our continent, economic refugees, those who are exposed to diseases, the poor and the oppressed. We pray that God will look with favour upon our continent and give us peace.
Today I want focus my reflections on Joshua 1:1-9. While the texts in the Deuteronomic corpus (Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Book of Joshua) had a history prior to their being incorporated into the larger body of the Hebrew Texts or The Old Testament, they are used to address a very specific situation in the life of God’s people, namely, the Exiles in Babylon.
What happened to the promises of God? The exiles have been driven away from the land promised their fathers, with little or no hope of returning. Do these promises still stand? The temple, the place where God was thought to be truly present in the land, is now destroyed. Is God also present and active among the exiles who wander among the nations far from home?
The Introduction to the book of Joshua (1:1-9) is a word in time of transition and reminds the Exiles of what God had done for their forefathers in the past. When they were landless fugitives, God had given them a land flowing with milk and honey. When they were leaderless God had given them Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua is a confirmation to the Exiles that God can be trusted and God’s promises remain forever.
Last night the President concluded his speech to the South African Nation with the words “it is in your hands” as he encouraged us to be responsible as we move to lockdown Level 3 from the first of June. Some of us are disappointed that we will still not be allowed to gather for worship, and some are still disappointed that they will not be allowed to smoke, to see their extended families and to visit their favourite public spaces. I am encouraged by God’s words to Joshua “be strong and be courageous”; you will not go through this challenging time alone, I will be with you; I will take you in my hand and lead you as I have done before.
“Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us o’er the world’s tempestuous sea;
guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, for we have no help but thee,
yet possessing every blessing if our God our guide shall be.

Kimberley Reflections – 24 May – Dean Reginald Leeuw

John 17: 11-19.
Dear friends good evening as we await with bated breath the President’s speech later this evening. It’s been more than fifty days in Lockdown and no one knows for sure what level 3 of Lockdown will look like, and which part of the country will go into level 3. We, like the disciples, the first hearers of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer captured so nicely in Gospel of John chapter 17, are unsure of the future. But three things Jesus prayed for are protection, unity and preservation of truth. These are the three pivots that disciples, both of yesteryear and today, will hold on to in times of uncertainty
Jesus knows that the world that he descended to, and in which we live, did not like him from the beginning; a world which, if we are true to our calling, will not love us either. But Jesus reassures us of God’s protection. We go into the unknown future assured of God’s protection.
Here I am reminded of the old South African coin which had the words “Eendrag maak mag”, “Unity is strength” in English. One of the enemy’s strategies to rend God’s flock asunder is the planting and exploitation of seeds of dissatisfaction and disunity. To quote Jesus Christ “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matt 12:25). We go into the unknown future united in our faith in Jesus Christ.
Lastly Jesus’ prayer is that his disciples will be sanctified in the truth: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (v17). To know what the truth is puts one in an advantageous position, and the truth of life is that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and if we hold on to this truth we know we shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Sleep well dear friends assured of God’s protection, unity and truth.
To God be the glory.

Kimberley Reflections – 16 May – The Ven Thomas Mhuriro

MORNING PRAYER REFLECTIONS from the Ven Dr Thomas Mhuriro, 16 May 2020:
Psalm 118, Leviticus 23:23-44, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

Good morning people of God. I trust that we are together in this journey we are undertaking under these restrictive circumstances. I am aware that it is a very expensive and exhaustive exercise. Never mind. The point is that the spiritual unity we are celebrating now is critical in terms of our relationship with God through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that sustains us daily.

One interesting thing this morning is the encouragement that God gives in relation to how we should live. To the people of Israel, the instruction was to continue to work, to have time to rest and pray, and also to find time to celebrate. This balancing of activities seems to create a rhythm without which life would be mere routine and boredom, leading to unwarranted misery. Through Moses, people of Israel were given a balanced calendar to help them live this life to the full and to pass it on to future generations.

If we were to be honest with ourselves, we could admit that we allow a culture that tends to militate against God’s designs in most cases. Sometimes we pretend to know more than our Creator. In some cases, happiness becomes a forbidden word and we become so busy with things that do not build us. God requires us to balance our activities. One bishop who used to visit me and my other fellow trainees during my Seminary days used to encourage us to eat well, play hard, study diligently and to pray as if it was the only activity we were expected to engage in. It was clear that he wanted us to balance our lives and therefore to enjoy everything to the full. I am sure the realisation of God’s everlasting love celebrated in the psalm of this morning is only possible when we master the art of balancing our lives and therefore able to appreciate God even when we are faced with adversity. St Paul’s letter takes up the same issue. People who tend to go to extremes end up exaggerating their cases. Paul sees people who were so passionate about the end of the world, to the extent that they stopped doing any work. Among them were people who became experts in perfecting the art of gossip. We all know how much this culture of gossiping all the time even damages the Church. It looks like laziness and gossips are the best accomplices in crime! Funnily enough, according to Paul, lazy people seem to have good appetites. Now it is not easy to balance laziness with a good appetite. It would be good to be lazy and to abstain from food!

For me, it is clear that we start yet another morning with the inspiring lessons of God to help us throughout the day. We should work, rest, pray and finally celebrate the gift of life by eating. I am sure that one of the reasons why many people end up losing their faith has to do with the failure to balance the demands of life with the call to worship God. We end up looking at life as though it were a curse rather than a blessing. The God who allows us to face hardships is the same God who gives us the grace to conquer them. To him be the glory. Amen.