|IiNDABA – AUGUST 2020|
“This is a time of hope, recovery and rebirth.”
Are you familiar with the song, “I am a small part of the world” by Sally K. Albrecht and Jay Althouse? I heard it sung by a local school choir conducted by Romano Jonathan, the organist of St Margaret’s church in Summerstrand. I was moved by it then as I am each time, I listen to it on YouTube:
I am a small part of the world.
I have a small hand which to hold.
But if I stand by your side and you put your hand in mine,
Together we can be so strong and bold.
Essentially, the words echo a plea on the part of a child. It is an exhortation to holding hands because of the vagary’s life has to offer at a time such as this. Think back for a moment when as a little child you got to hold the hand of your mom or dad as you negotiated crossing a busy street. All they did was to put their hand out, you clasped it, and followed as you were led with the implicit trust a child has in its parent. Such is the plea of this verse.
“It is in God’s hands.” This expression strikes a chord in me and forces me to examine once again what those words mean and how it reflects on my own relationship with God. It is a phrase that is often used in the face of tragedy, adversity or when something has not quite worked out the way we anticipated it would. Nonetheless it is a powerful phrase that emits different feelings, emotions, and responses to people depending on one’s relationship with God.
Scripture holds powerful images about the hand of God. It speaks about where we find ourselves during the vicissitudes of lockdown. It is a safe place – God’s hand. Listen to the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John 10:29, “What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand”. This is our security amidst all that is thrown at us.
A unique biblical image that teaches us about life, serving God and walking with God are the limbs at the end of our arms. In both the Old Testament and New Testament, the imagery of hands is employed to both reflect and teach biblical truth. For example, in the letter to Timothy Paul makes reference to the laying on of hands. The service in our Anglican Prayer Book refers to it as the “Service of laying on of hands”, meaning anointing with oil.
An overarching theme in the Old Testament is one where hands betray what the heart holds. Hands symbolise what we do, the actions we take and how our intentions are reflected by character and works. How is this explained? Hands are described as being clean or unclean. According to Job 17:9, Job 22:30, Ps 18:20-24, Psalm 24:1-6 and Psalm 73:13 hands represent a righteous life. It also epitomises holiness of life whereas unclean hands represent a heart that is wicked. Is this not an indictment on our society where men lift their hands to harm women and children? Why is it that the heart of man is dark and sinister? The hands we lift in prayer to God are sometimes the very hands that cause much devastation to the fabric of society.
The New Testament also talks about lifting up holy hands which is essentially a matter of the heart, though it is expressed with metaphors of the hands. Jesus made it clear that washing one’s hands do not cleanse the inside of a person’s heart; but the work of our hands is indicative of the condition of our hearts. In a nutshell, the condition and action of hands represent the condition of the heart before God.
God’s own favour and work is expressed with the language of “his hands.” God’s work of deliverance and redemption in the book of Exodus is repeatedly described as being through “…God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm.” The favour of God is expressed by way of “The hand of God being upon us”. Nehemiah goes before the King to ask for assistance in his work to rebuild Jerusalem and the book records this amazing verse: “I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me.” (Nehemiah 2:18). A sign of God’s favour therefore is when God’s hand is upon people. It is a theme that continues in the New Testament when Jesus is said to be raised from death and seated at the right hand of God.
In conclusion, hands are either used for blessing or as a clenched fist to oppress. The chorus line of the song is worth a mention at this point:
Hand in hand, dreams combined
Voice with voice, together for all time.
Hand in hand, dreams combined
Voice with voice, for all time.
It speaks of a godly way in which to relate to other people. Imagine a world where our hearts and hands and voices are in sync with each other? Surely, that would make God smile! Let us anticipate singing that great hymn together when this season of lockdown has passed, “Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices!”
Until next time; go with God.
Progress on the Organ Upgrade
In June 2019 I was invited to visit the organ builders workshop where nestled among crates, boxes, tools, old keyboards and many other indiscriminate items were two sets of long wished for organ pipes that were needed to complete sections of the organ at St Johns.
After consultation and approval by the Church Parish Council, work was originally set to begin at the end of 2020. Due to the National Lockdown, much of the organ builders tuning work was put on hold as all churches were closed, but this did allow them to get a head start on the work lined up for us. After some small delays in importing electronics and transporting some items from Pretoria, work has begun. Pipes now occupy the pews and the console has been dismantled. Work should be completed in a few days’ time.
These new pipes will provide much needed variety to the Swell division and allow the Swell to better match the Great division. The Mixture stop will provide brilliance to the full organ sound. Along with the new additions some of the electronic system that runs the organ will be upgraded and moved from the console to the organ loft. A few problematic pipes will be receiving some special attention in order to sound at their best once more. The organ of St John’s is 294 pipes richer and boasts a new total of 1031 pipes!The new pipes will provide three stops. Two stops on the Swell (top keyboard): a Principal 4’ and Fifteenth 2’; and one stop on the Great (lower keyboard): a Mixture IV- which means that 4 pipes will sound for every one note played. These new pipes will provide much needed variety to the Swell division and allow the Swell to better mIt is six long months since the organ last played for a service. If you would like to hear the organ before we are once again allowed to gather, please listen to this Sunday’s hymn after the sermon.
| September’s Prayer points|
Encouragement:“Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence…” Read: 1Timothy 2: 1-6
Please pray for:
A. All NMB Hospitals and for those in the Medical Field: Give thanks to God for the answer to our prayers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to praise God for the good, positive and reliable recent report that the number of COVID-19 cases in Livingstone Hospital has declined and staffing issues have been solved.
Continue to pray for all our NMB hospitals to cope with COVID-19 patients and the pressing need of important operations – which have had to wait in line – to be able to take place.
Continue to pray for a reduction in the number of COVID-19 patients in the Bay.
B. God’s blessing and His protection over all the police officers, members of the defence force, the correctional services, and the fire-brigade. (Ps.91)
C. The Bible Society of South Africa (23 August 1820 – 23 August 2020):Praise God for their bicentennial celebration on Sunday 23 August 2020.
The Bible Society of South Africa’s project this year is to distribute 2 Million Bibles to the people of SA who cannot afford their own Bibles.
Pray for the Christian community in NMB to support them and help them to accomplish the Society’s goal.
D. The Women of NMB: (Proverbs 31: 10-31)Let us continue to pray against the abuse of women and children.
Husbands to love their wives and not abuse them in any way.
Men and women to seek counselling in this area of abuse in their lives.
The perpetrators of rape and the abuse of young women to be arrested and sentenced justly. Women and child abuse to end in NMB.
Many unsaved women to have a real encounter with God.
Children to honour their mothers and to treat them with great respect.
A special blessing on the women of NMB, on their homes, their careers, and on our women’s ministry – as we celebrate Woman’s Month this month. (Great was the company of women. (Psalm 68:11)
Remember the promise:
… pray to the Lord for the city because if it prospers, you will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
Please feel free to join in our prayer groups that meet outside of many of our hospitals on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Inquiries re: times and place to meet:
Whatsapp: Joan – 084 766 2270; Shirley – 082 410 7993; Trish – 083 284 4826.
Prayer pointers supplied by NMB: Transformation Christian Network.
More info: www.tcn.org.za
Petro will explain how to install this on your smartphone.
Click here to watch.
Do you have a sewing machine?
Would you like to help to make face masks?
St John’s has partnered with Masks for PE and is encouraging people to make masks to give away in needy areas.
Wearing face masks when out and about is mandatory. Everyone needs at least 2. That’s a lot of masks!
Masks for PE makes it very easy for people to help.
They supply packs with enough pre-cut fabric for 30 masks, thread, fabric ties and instructions.
Finished masks will be packaged along with instructions in English and isiXhosa as to how to wear them safely and how to care for them.
Masks will be distributed at our Fountain Road Soup Kitchen in Ggebera and the Centre of Concern.
Belinda and Mike Jordan will be co-ordinating this project for St John’s.
Contact Belinda on 083 447 3900 if you want to start sewing and to arrange for delivery and collection.
Please contact Andrew 083 546 2451
or Petro 072 663 9774 should you have any questions or require assistance with ZOOM.
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.