Tuesday, May 25, 2010

June 2010

Dear Friends

The “New Thing” - Pentecost

I shared in my Pentecost sermon (http://bit.ly/aADmsh) that the “new thing” God wishes to do in our lives is for us to come to know the Lord (Hosea 2:20); and that I felt quite offended that God didn’t think I knew him; and that perhaps you might feel the same.  And then of course, with a little reflection, I began asking what does it really mean to “know the Lord” – and do I? Do we know the Lord? How is this visible in our lives?

To “know the Lord” means more than vague acquaintance or even superficial relationship: it requires immersion. It requires exploring what the Father’s purpose is for Jesus, what Jesus understood his purpose to be; and discovering our purpose in the midst of Jesus’ call. In Luke 4:18-21, using Isaiah’s words, Jesus states that his purpose – affirmed by the Spirit’s anointing – is to proclaim Good News, freedom, recovery and God’s favour; this proclamation is to be one of action, not words. It is to set the oppressed free.

The call to “know the Lord” is to invest in God’s Kingdom, in our society, and in individual lives. Our acts of proclamation, in terms of Luke 4, are to the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed.  It is a call to invest in the lives of those we perceive God to have abandoned. Too often we have diminished this call into “alleviation” and provide food parcels, clothing, sometimes money; and generally use a go-between, rarely dirtying our own hands. Does alleviation set people free, give them sight? Does alleviation set me free to “know the Lord”? Alleviation is an important and valuable starting point, an attempt to meet the symptoms of need, giving us space to address the cause. To truly invest is to address the cause, and it is often a sacrificial call to put ourselves – not just our wealth – on the line. It is a call to become the go-between, and to seek ways to invest ourselves in “knowing the Lord” as we immerse ourselves in addressing the causes of need in our society. At our peril we distance ourselves from Jesus’ anointed purpose.

What should we be addressing? Next time you find yourself complaining about some aspect of South African society, perhaps that is a place for us to start.

Easter Offering – Thank You!

Thank you to all who contributed to the Easter Offering I received this year. As always it is much appreciated! It has enabled me to pay for the many books my studies require this year, update my phone, address my wardrobe and hopefully leave something for a rainy day. I am aware that this year the financial crunch has found reality in most of our pockets, and so your gift is all the more valued.