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29/10/2017: Disciples Listen with INTENT

Bible Reading

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Bible Reading

Exodus 3 vs 1 – 13

Moses and the Burning Bush

1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

A Letter from the Presiding Bishop

2018 – The Year of Unity

As the year approaches its end, receive greetings and prayers from the Methodist Connexional Office. Conference has come and gone, but its work continues as each member, local congregation, Circuit, District and Organisation reflect and act on the Message to the Methodist People. I have no doubt that the Methodist people will respond obediently as we together discern what God is calling us to be and to do at this time. Such response will differ from context to context, but the passion and zeal will be the same.

I write this message in October 2017 when the groans of creation are evident in natural disasters; the pain of hunger is loud and societal broken-ness expressed in tolerated violent actions and dehumanising abuse. What are we called to do at this time? Among our responses we cannot ignore the following:

October 16th was World Food Day – a loud reminder not to look away from those without food and

  • Together in our mission areas, even beyond these boundaries, we have to work together in food security initiatives which include but are not limited to; food production, food preservation and food sharing.
  • Holding conversations across Society/Circuit barriers, that deal with all livelihoods related matters from a spiritual point of view.

At Conference we also affirmed the earth as God’s precious creation and that the earth and all of creation belong to God. The recent storms and natural disasters around the Connexion and the globe are in part a loud groan of creation. Conference reflected on the theme: Being Together with God’s creation. What do we understand this call to mean? As we reflect and interact with each other:

  • Let us express God’s compassion as we care for each other and creation and set the stage for life giving future action.
  • Listen together as we respond to the call to care for creation and become “Wesleyan earth keepers.”
  • Let us take time to experience first- hand the living conditions of one another.

In light of the escalating violent attacks and actions as well as our deeply fractured society:

  • We need to re-imagine being and doing church in ways that demonstrate divine intention that transcends all forms of difference.
  • Actively organise events that demonstrate a recognition of each other’s humanity despite our differences.

Towards a better future:

  • Congregations with diverse congregations, must organize events and worship in ways that acknowledge the dignity of all and foster unity.
  • Prioritize the safety of all children and vulnerable people.
  • Find innovative ways of providing access to quality early childhood development opportunities.

As 2018 marks sixty years of the MCSA statement that it is the will of God that we be one and undivided, let each local congregation be intentional in demonstrating the oneness that Jesus prayed for in John 17:21. Any bitterness, prejudice, oppressive behaviour, or abuse, must not be tolerated among us.

We are a ‘transforming discipleship movement – TOGETHER!

Shalom!

Zipho

Click to access Newsletter-End-Oct-2017.pdf

Questions for Reflection

  1. Please read the Presiding Bishop’s letter – prayerfully. “Listen” to the “call” in each of the bullet ed sentences (●) above.
  2. What do these “calls” mean to you? For example, are these “calls” already being answered in your life and in the life of St.Thomas? If not, are they “calls” that you and/or St.Thomas need to hear?
  3. What does the following phrase mean: “to be a ‘transforming discipleship movement’ – TOGETHER!”?
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