Sunday, August 18, 2013

Preaching at the Monastery!

Today i had the pleasure of preaching at the Monastery. It was absolutely wonderful!   Paul Daniels, the other Yascer, and the Cathedral student ministry came to support and it was just lovely. Well, here are a couple of photos and my sermon notes.  Enjoy

Luke 12:49-56
Jesus said, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:
father against son
and son against father,
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, `It is going to rain'; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"

The past and the present walk into a room, it was tense. 

Really, what do you do when you come to a point in time when the past and the present collide, that is what I would like to talk about today?  Jesus talks about bringing fire to the earth and wishing that it was already kindled.  Why fire? What emotions does the word fire evoke?  I’m left with a sense of urgency, passion, also since I have been here I have seen two different fires so Ive seen first hand, as im sure you all have, the destructive capability that fire possesses, but I also know that fire can be used to create something new.  In the first lesson today Jesus asks, is not my word like fire? So again Jesus makes an allusion to fire, why?  Is it because it enlightens, warms, and penetrates every part. When Jesus’ word is communicated to a true witness, it is like a fire shut up in the bones; you can not retain it, you’ve got to broadcast it: and when you speak it, it is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces; it is ever accompanied by a Divine power, that causes both sinner and saint to feel its weight and importance.

Jesus goes on to say how he wishes that that fire were already kindled. What does that mean? What kindles the fire that Jesus brings? I think the answer to that question is, us.  Jesus is wishing for people to be a witness to his glory, to the fire that he has brought and continues to bring.

So what happens when the present meets the past?

Jesus says that we use our past experiences when we look to the skies, and when we feel the winds, and what do we do with these insights?  We give  weather forecasts.  Of all things, this is where we put our attentions.  In places that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter Instead of what actually matters, being the kindle to Jesus’ fire.  And he says it, you hypocrites, you know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

What happens when the present meets the past?

Jesus says do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  He said it way back then, that is what his name, his spirit, his presence on Earth would do.  
Cause division

What happens when the present meets the past?

How many wars have been fought for the namesake of Jesus? And Im not talking about wars like the Crusades or Western Expansion, or Colonialism.  How many wars have we personally fought trying to tell someone who Jesus was,  or rather who he is?  I cannot begin to tell you how many debates I have been apart of because of Jesus.  Whether it may be with another person of our faith discussing opposing interpretations of a text.  It seems like every time my dad and I get together we sit and go back and forth for hours upon hours about the church and tradition and what’s the point or how he read a particular text as something while I interpreted it and found another meaning.

But maybe this is what Jesus meant when he talked about kindle to his fire.
At first glance I think of these things as being, negative.  Not coming to bring peace to the world, but rather to cause division. If I may pose a question, does this division not kindle his fire?  Jesus is not a but or, Jesus is an also and.   I think the allusion of fire is used because fire engulfs all. It doesn’t pick and choose, I like this branch but not that bush or this tree but not that house, I know the people that live there, so not that house.  Please believe that when there is a fire it burns everything, not some things but everything.  I think this is the same way that the words of Jesus spread. Like a wildfire. And our division, our debate our witness adds to this fire because he is at the center of it all.  Not our superficial thoughts that jump from one insignificant thing to another. That change with the blowing of the wind. I think that was the point of what Jesus meant in these passages today.

So what happens when the present meets the past? It gets tense. Amen 

Another wonderful week of school!

Another wonderful week of school? Who would of ever thought those words would come out my mouth :) But yes it was, i was able to teach the kindergarden and grade two classes all by myself (on different days) teaching by yourself is a whole lot different than assisting....the kids are very high energy :) A side note, the kids really play well together out on the playground.  I watched as the boys worked to fix a bike chain that had fallen out of whack.  Also i watched the girls team up to braid another girl's head...I didn't know how many little hands could fit onto one head :)

Listening as spiritual hospitality

To listen is very hard,  because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements or declarations.  True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known.  They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond.  Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings.  The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their true selves.  Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Whose cow is that!?

Everyday after school I drive a group of kids home. This day, i dropped off each kid as i normally do,  as i was leaving one property and trying to head back for the main road my way was blocked...  It was blocked by a cow who was standing so casual in the middle of the road. Im like oh man what do i do now, there is no way i can possibly get this cow to move out of my way.  Suddenly one of the girls in the back of the car goes "hey! thats my cow Bhooti!" (Bhooti is what they call me) I look back and say no way, how can you tell? she looks at me bewildered shrugs and say i just know.  As amusing as this back and forth was, the cow still didn't move.

So i decide to reverse and go another way.  So i back up and continue down my way when suddenly another cow is blocking my path.  Thats when the same girl Aviwe says "Bhooti! thats my sister's cow!"  By this time im laughing uncontrollably because the cows are standing comically in the middle of the road.  So i say, well if that's your cow can you please tell him to move out of the way so that I can take you home.  thats when the girls hopped out the car and moved the cows from the road and we were able to continue on our merry way....

Monday, August 5, 2013

Highlights from last week

Here are some photos from last week.  Some highlights; led computer class, learned my first words in Xhosa.  Yima=stop, Yiza=come....its a start, i will be fluent in no time! Also i found a cape in one of the classes tucked away, so ive started wearing a cape.

How many Monks does it take...?

I was going to take a trip into town driving, when my clutch blew up, or whatever clutches do when they stop working.  I had to run back  to ask the brothers if they could help me push my car back to the monastery.  The question, how many monks does it take to push a car back home, up and down hills.  The answer is 3, with the help of two YASCERs, Paul Daniels and myself!