From The Reverend’s Desk – 9 January 2021

Good morning , Saints,

May 2021 be a year you again experience the love of God, the grace of Christ, and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday’s lectionary Psalm is #29. The final verses say:
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!”

Much of the Psalter is more lament than praise. Psalm 29 pours forth beautiful poetic language and imagery in a hymn to Yahweh — the God who speaks.

Let’s begin this year trusting that God’s love can – and will – save us. We begin the year 2021 assured that God is above the chaos of human life, symbolised in Hebrew biblical literature by flood water imagery.

In 2021, “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” Amen.

My friends, I arrived back in Gauteng Province having watched from afar a number of serious developments in our country – a retreat to level 3 of lockdown, COVID-19, political sagas, the deaths of friends, and even here in our congregation, sadly, members have lost parents, brother Dr Billy Marivate and sister Margie Beckwith. May you know the comfort and peace of God.

Then in December, the Chief Justice of SA made some unfortunately vulgar comments that caused a public outcry against Christian faith, where some of us found ourselves having to defend our faith to family and friends.

The church has struggled to articulate a credible public witness since 1995. Into the breach steps a man of standing with the ability to speak sense, and in a few bizarre missteps makes Christians seem like we are living in the year 1220.

He might easily have quoted Psalm 29 and spoken words of hope and reassurance and faith instead of making a hash of it. We cannot convince the world with superstitious language from the Dark Ages. We need to speak in a way the world understands so that we present a credible and authentic faith.

In addition, the insanity of President Trump finally blew up in an outright assault on US democracy. He – and his handlers – have deplorably done their best to turn US democracy into the scatological metaphor he once used about Africa. He must accept the outcome of the election and end his dangerous talk.

And yet, in spite of our human missteps and woundedness that expresses itself globally in public toxicity, we believe that God is still “on the throne”, as the Psalmist prays. God’s purposes never fail even when evil seems to win out.

We pray for sisters and brothers in the USA, compatriots in Africa, those in neighbouring countries who are desperate to flee the ravages of their own governments, and for all of us here in SA. We pray for those bereaved, and for those who are medical personnel on the frontline of COVID-19.

May we each be mindful of our Christian witness in every situation. We should be mindful of what would Jesus do for our neighbour. What would Jesus say on Facebook? What would Jesus do as an elder?

Jesus gives his followers a wide-ranging freedom to act in faith. Let’s do it!
This year, 2021, perhaps we need a sermon series on Seeing Jesus Again.
This Sunday, we revisit Jesus’ baptism as we remember our own.

Here’s wishing Thee and Thine every good wish for 2021.
In Christ,

Published by St. Columba's Presbyterian Church Hatfield

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa is a Christian Church. Our vision is to be a Christ-centred, bible-believing church that calls all to come and experience the love of Christ, in a welcoming and caring body of believers.

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