Today is the 4th of July 2014 - it has been 4 years since I first wrote my short reflection on the ministry of a chaplain and St Martin of Tours. Today is the feast day of St Martin of Tours. My life has changed somewhat since I wrote that. I am sitting in Holland at the moment, working towards the completion of my second PhD atRadboud University in Nijmegen. I am no longer a workplace chaplain. Since January 2015 I am a full time academic - teaching Systematic Theology, Ethics and Public Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. It is a wonderful privilege to serve the Church and the world in this way.
This year I had an article published in the academic journal, Koers, on ministry and faith in the world of work, and I am working on another article with my friend Dr Johan Oosterbrink for the journal 'In die skriflig' (a Festschrift for Prof Koos Lotter). This article also focusses on faith and work.
My prayer is that we will see many more people awaken to the high calling of work, and like St Martin of Tours, that they would follow the call of Christ and serve Him and the world with their talents, time and treasure so that God's Kingdom of justice, mercy and peace may be established for all.
Today's 'Common Prayer' has a focus on St Martin. The two quotes below were a great encouragement and blessing to me in devotions today.
Martin of Tours (d. 397)
Martin of Tours saw Christ in the face of the poor and in the commitment to nonviolence. He was born in what is now Hungary and as a young man was involuntarily enlisted in the Roman Army. Martin’s conversion to Christianity occurred after he met a beggar seeking alms. Without money to offer the man, Martin tore his own coat in half and gave one part to the beggar. The following night, Martin dreamed of Christ wearing half of his coat. Once Martin was baptized he resolved to leave the army because Christ called him to nonviolence. His superiors mistakenly saw his request as one of cowardice until Martin offered to face the front lines without weapons as a sign of Christian pacifism. Denied this offer, Martin spent time in prison. Afterward he joined the monastery at Solesmes and eventually served for ten years as bishop of Tours.
Here is the other quote from the end of the devotion:
Martin of Tours said, “I am a soldier of Christ; it is not lawful for me to fight.”
Prayers for Others
Almighty God, you are King of all creation. You created order out of chaos, and you call us to strive for the peace that is not like the peace empires bring. Teach us to drop the weapons we carry in our hands, in our hearts, and on our tongues. Enable us to be soldiers of yours who destroy the weapons of our oppressors with your grace. Amen.
With rich blessing in your work and ministry!