Psalms vir Pare

Ek en my geliefde wil graag saam Bybel lees, maar ons sukkel om materiaal te kry wat vir ons werk. Plus, ons is geneig om aspris halstarrig te wees. As die materiaal bv. vra: “Hoe laat dit jou voel?” is ek geneig om te antwoord: “Lekker”. Ek lei af ander egpare sukkel ook (hoewel dalk nie op dieselfde manier nie).

Daarom het ek besluit om vir ons materiaal saam te stel. Die idee is gewoon om saam ‘n stukkie te lees en dan daaroor te gesels. Die doel is om geloofservaring te deel, nie om diepe studies te doen en inligting te versamel nie.

Die verwagting is nie dat dit vir almal sal werk nie, maar mense is welkom om dit te gebruik. As dit werk, wonderlik. As dit nie vir julle werk nie, you do you.

Daar is ook ‘n weergawe van dieselfde ding, maar vir individue. Ek sal mettertyd ‘n Engelse ene vir paartjies maak.

Die materiaal kan dalk ook werk vir gesinne met ouer kinders, of vir kleingroepe wat bereid is om dieper te deel.

Jy sal sien daar is ‘n opsie om ‘n donasie te maak. As jy wil. Daar is regtig geen verwagting nie. Gebruik dit, deel dit, hopelik geniet julle dit.

Paralyzed by Fear

Photo by Christopher Cotrell from flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

John 5:1-18

The man on the mat…

Can you imagine this man?  He has been ill for 38 years.  A lifetime.  He doesn’t know anything other than sickness, lying there on his mat, begging for alms.

… meets Jesus

Then, one day Jesus passes by… and SEES him.  Really séés him, knows about him.

So Jesus stops by this man.  But you know Jesus…  There’s no: “Hello, how are you?” No introductions.  Just, immediately, the question:

“Do you want to be made well?”

Now just imagine if you were this man, lying there for almost four decades.  Helpless…  And a stranger comes up to you and asks if you want to be made well.  As if it’s somehow your fault that you’re lying there.  As if you’re gaining something.  Like it’s in your interest to be lying there.

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The Transfiguration of Fear

Matthew 17:1-8

Fear

What are you afraid of? What do you fear?  It seems to me that we live in an era of fear. Fear of economic collapse, crime, the future… Every chance they get, the media tells us about all the things we have to be afraid of, from incompetent governance to plastic to dairy.  I often feel that people have become crippled by fear.

Boxes

When we are scared, we try to put things in boxes.  If we can only structure, organise, have everything in its box, where we can explain and control – then we will be safe.

The thing is, we try to do the same with God.  We try to fit God into our boxes.  Safe.  Predictable.  I read about an adult telling kids that God does not fit in our boxes.  To which the kids replied, “Use a bigger box!” Which is exactly what we do.  We use a bigger box.  Where – no matter what flowery theological language we use –  God is in our service.  Where God’s job is to make us happy.  To ensure that everything goes well with us.

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Onderstebo

1 Korintiërs 1:18-31 en Matteus 5:3-11

God se onderstebo manier

Wanneer laas het jy ‘n dominee in ‘n toga gesien?  Dit gebeur nie gereeld in die kringe waar ek beweeg nie.  Togas het bietjie in onbruik verval.

Die doel van ‘n toga (of liturgiese drag) is om die dominee te laat verdwyn.  Sodat jy nie vaskyk in die klere, die mens wat voor jou staan nie.  Die toga moet ons herinner:  dit gaan nie oor die mens wat hier staan nie.  Kyk dwarsdeur mens, want hierdie mens wys na God.

Dinge soos liturgiese bande en ander tipe liturgiese drag, fokus weer ons aandag op wat in die erediens gebeur.  Dit herinner ons aan die tyd in die kerkjaar.  Dit sê vir ons dat wat hier gebeur, nie oor die dominee gaan nie, maar dat die dominee wys na God.

Maar oor die jare het die betekenis van ‘n toga verander.  In mense se gedagtes het dit persies die teenoorgestelde geword van wat dit veronderstel is om te wees.  Mense het begin dink die toga sê die dominee is daar bo, belangriker as die res van die gemeente.  Dat die toga beteken die dominee is die “gesalfde van Here” – asof alle gedooptes nie gesalf is nie!

Daarom dra dominees deesdae al minder togas.  Omdat dit geraak het wat dit nie is.  Omdat ons nie rekening gehou het met God se onderstebo manier nie.

Want God se manier van werk is heeltemal omgekeer van die wêreld se manier

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Seeing sex when you should see a person

Twice now in as many days, I have read commentaries referring to the woman in Luke 7:36-39 as a sex worker. No discussion, no argumentation as to why they assume that she was a sex worker. It is just stated, as if it is a universally accepted fact: the woman in Luke 7 was a sex worker.

It seems to me, however, that this is a case of the sex worker being in the eye of the beholder. Our classification of this woman says more about us than about her.

Luke simply calls her a sinner. Why then, would it be assumed that her “sin” was sexual? This assumption stems from an inability to think of women as fully human. In the male gaze that sees women only as sexual objects, her sin can only be sexual.

Crystal Lutton tells the beautiful story of a woman who had sat at Jesus’ feet; who later accused Jesus of not caring and then witnessed the resurrection of her brother; who anointed her beloved teacher’s feet with oil.

Christians have a historical tendency to interpret Bible women’s non-specific sin as sexual sin, and often, female promiscuity is inferred with no support from the actual text. The story of Jesus’ anointing by an unnamed woman in Luke is a prime example of our tendency to label and shame Bible women.

says Lutton

Stop it.

If you want to label her a sex worker, at least argue your point.

Certainty in uncertain times

Isaiah 63:7-9

2019 in review

Let us take a quick look back over 2019.  In South-Africa, this was the year of:

  • Riots
  • Fires
  • Division
  • Drought, with many Eastern Cape towns being without water
  • While also being the year of floods and cyclones.
  • The Zondo Commission
  • Stage 6 Loadshedding
  • This was the year where people, for the first time, took note of the levels of violence against women in this country, when women finally stood up and said:  “enough!”
  • Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy
  • National election
  • Xenophobia – still
  • Robert Mugabe passed away
  • The DA was reshuffled
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Impatient Patience

James 5:7-11

Children’s story

Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray

To wait

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is a time of waiting.  We have all these wonderful rituals of expectation, excitement.  The Advent wreath helps us to count the weeks, looking forward to Christmas.  Christmas decorations fill the air with expectant excitement, while we can’t wait to open the gifts under the tree.  All of this to remind us that we are waiting for Jesus.

But let’s be honest:  waiting is no fun!  Those gifts under the tree mock us.  Some of us wait until nobody’s looking to pick the gifts up, touch them, shake them, smell them, trying to figure out what they are.  Because we want to know!  We don’t like to wait!

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