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    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

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Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Entries in liturgy (4)


Giving thanks for the life of Brother Roger - Taizé Community

Today I give thanks for the life and ministry of Brother Roger today. The establishment of the Taizé community is a continuing gift of renewal and missional blessing to the Church across the world.

It reminds me that simple courage and constant obedience can often be used by God to bring about transformation, healing and renewal.


In 1940, despite the spread of war in Europe, Roger Schütz crossed the border from Switzerland into France to pursue a community life characterized by simplicity and the fellowship described in the gospels. From early on in his life, Brother Roger knew that such a life together could be a sign of reconciliation for Christians from different denominations.
After settling in a French village called Taizé, Brother Roger was caught for hiding Jewish refugees and had to leave France after two years. When he returned after World War II had ended, he was accompanied by a few men who became the first brothers of the Taize community, which grew into an ecumenical community with brothers on all continents, bearing witness to what brother Roger came to talk about as a “parable of community.”
On August 16 2005, during evening prayer in the Church of reconciliation at Taizé, Brother Roger was stabbed to death by a mentally ill woman.
- Common prayer (16 August 2013) -



The launch of Word and Worship - a resource on the Revised Common Lectionary

On Wednesday I had the joy of attending the launch of a great new resource for Churches and ministers - it is called Word and Worship. It is a great book that was put together by Dr Coenie Burger, Dr Bruce Theron and a team of ministers from various denominations including the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church and various other denominations.

The book takes the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary and gives background information, commentary, liturgical, prayer and worship pointers.

Prof Russel Botman, the Rector of the University of Stellenbosch, spoke at the opening of the event, as did Prof Nico Koopman (the Dean of the Faculty of Theology), Dr Coenie Burger and Dr Bruce Theron. It was wonderful to see my friends Kevin Needham, John van de Laar (one of the conveners of the project - and perhaps one of the world's foremost theologians on worship and liturgy, picture here receiving his copy) and many other colleagues contributing to this wonderful resource!



Here is the report from the University of Stellenbosch website:

Word and Worship, the first South African ecumenical resource manual written in English, will be introduced on Wednesday 16 November 2011 at the Faculty of Theology.

It was compiled by 35 ministers of six different churches and will be published under the auspices of Ekklesia, a centre of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University.

Ekklesia will be distributing 6 000 copies in November, in time for use by ministers and congregations on the First Advent Sunday, on 27 November.

The purpose of Word and Worship, which follows the well-known ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary, is to assist ministers with the preparation of weekly sermons and services. BUVTON, the forerunner to Ekklesia, published an Afrikaans ecumenical resource manual for 14 years. It has long been a dream to publish an English equivalent, making it possible for churches on any given Sunday to be busy with common texts of Scripture.

I am a staff member at Ekklesia at the University of Stellenbosch, the centre in the Faculty of Theology that managed this project. We are planning to have 'Word and Worship' reflection and conversations starting from Tuesday the 17th of January 2012 between 9-12. If you're interested in attending these sessions please just drop me a line! It would be great to connect you with the group facilitators.


Ash Wednesday

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments." -1 John 5:2

Today is the start of Lent - this is a season in the Church calendar that encourages Christians to become conscious of the cost that Christ paid for our lives, and also to recognize that our own lives are finite and precious gifts.  This not only means that my life is a precious gift to me, it means that your life is a precious gift to me.  I cannot be fully human without you.  

The discipline of lent reminds me that I have the capacity to choose (even if my choices seem limited, or insignificant) how I will serve God and others with what remains of my life.  I pray that this period of time will have some significance for you too.

I was saddened today by the dismissal of a colleague and friend of mine, Rev Ecclesia de Lange.  I have known Ecclesia for years - if I am not mistaken I interviewed her where she candidated for our ministry in the Methodist Church, I celebrated her growth through her studies and was present at the service where she was ordained.  I am reminded that the Church, just like me, is not always correct in what it does.  I shall continue to work and pray and do my little bit to see that God's Kingdom of love and grace is established wherever I can - even in the Church.

Isn't this image of the ashen cross lovely?  It comes from my friend and pastor Steven Lottering.

A few quotes left an impression upon me this week.  I thought I would share them with you on Ash Wednesday.

Teach us to sit still ... And let my cry come unto Thee.
- T.S. Eliot, from his poem, "Ash Wednesday"

And this one from a friend I met through the internet - a Methodist minister in the USA.  I thought this quote was both humorous and so true!  There must be more to being a Christ follower than giving up chocolate!

UthGuyChaz What if, for Lent, we gave up thinking that Jesus died so that we could go to church, hear a good sermon, and give up chocolate?

Then there was this one - it has a littl more 'bite' to it.

"It is terrible to die of thirst in the ocean. Do you have to salt your truth so heavily that it does not quench thirst any more?" -Nietzche

I live my life in public.  It is often costly to do so - I cannot hide who I am.  I find this quote comforting.

"Change occurs when deeply felt private experiences are given public legitimacy." -Gandhi

And lastly, from my good friend Pete's blog:

Silence frees us from the need to control others ... A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.- Richard Foster, from his book Freedom of Simplicity


Worship at work - a lovely liturgy

My last post indicated that I was about to enter the Chapel service to worship with our students. Rev Kedibone Mofokeng led the service. I've retyped her liturgy below (with some slight amendment, and excluding the Xhosa and Tswana prayers and hymns). The responsive sections are printed in italic script.

Opening prayer:
Let us pray:
Let us sing a new song to our Lord, a song praising and thanking God for this day.
A song of joy and happiness

Celebrating endurance and peace!
A song of love and victory, A song of faith and power.

O let our voices hover with the wind! Clap hands with the warmth of the sun and shout with the noise of the birds!
For our blinded eyes are opened, and our deafened ears unstopped; our crippled feet are leaping, and our muted tongues have found their real song.

Loving God, you have delivered us through another night. You have brought us, like your Son Jesus, from that world created and ruled by our wishes and hopes, and ushered us into the world that you, alone, create and rule.
For the grace that has searched for us, and found us, we praise You gentle Creator

Silent reflection:

You found what we were doing, and you intervened. 'Come and do it the right way, let us do it together, come and do it with me' you said.
We thank you Lord, for intervening in our lives.

In the beginning
Before time, before people
Before the world began
God was.

Here and now
Among us and beside us
Joining the people of the earth from different tribes, and tongues, and nations
For the purpose of your Kingdom
God is.

In the future,
when we have gone our separate ways
and we continue to fulfill our calling.
God will be.

Not denying the world, but delighting in it,
Not condemning the world, but redeeming it,
Through Jesus Christ,
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
God was, God is, God will be.

Closing prayer:
Speak your Word, O Lord, as you spoke your Word in the beginning, and in Nazareth, and on Pentecost. As we do our work today we shall be your faithful servants and witnesses, using our work as worship. Amen.

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