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