Sunday, 20 March 2016

Palm Sunday- Breaking the Spell

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Phil 2:5-11
Luke 23:1-47
Today is Palm Sunday when we celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on his way to die.  We read the story in the gospel reading.  It was all very carefully stage-managed, and Jesus was very carefully fulfilling several prophecies about the Messiah and in so doing, proclaiming himself messiah and forcing the hands of the Jewish authorities.  God sometimes intervenes and forces the issue – not waiting for people to get around to doing what they say.

He knew that they would take the challenge, and that they would have to take action and probably kill him because he knew that they were planning to kill him anyway - remember when Lazarus died the disciples didn't want him to go to Bethany, so close to Jerusalem, because the Chief Priests and Scribes were planning to kill him then?

So why did he do it?

To "break the spell"
(tell Yellow fingers story with Sir Galahad)

We often feel as if we are under some sort of spell - listen to what St Paul says in Romans 7.  Rather like being turned into a frog and every time you want to sing, a 'gribbet' comes out!  In fact, these stories of evil spells are really paradigms of spirituality, and the rescue by the virtuous, innocent one is the motif for the gospel story. The princess has to kiss the frog - the worst and most humiliating thing she could have to do, but also the most loving action towards something apparently unlovable. Also Beauty and the Beast.

Essence of Fall was disobedience and a desire for power.  Jesus is obedient and humble, so reverses the pattern and is able to remain without sin, and thus breach the stronghold and break the sin.  He was the first one to enter Hades and be free to leave it.  It is hard for us to understand the redemption process, and every parallel we use has a weakness somewhere, as does this one. 

Where does that leave us?

Are you still under the evil spell of Satan, or will you step out of your castle and be free, for look, your King comes, obedient and lowly, riding upon an ass, the foal of an ass.  And he has come for you.  Because he loves you more than you can ever begin to imagine.


Pew leaflet: Can also be downloaded from here:


Sunday, 13 March 2016


This being my last report at St Patrick’s, I look back over the 9 years I have been here, and find a story of tremendous blessing and growth in our relationship with God.  How special it has been!

Trevor has covered much of what has happened during the year, and I will just give the statistics and a comment.  We started 2015 with a membership of 47 individual people.  During the year we lost Ticia Davies, Siya Bakula, Jeff and Jane Every, Dick Richter, J-P Verster and Terry Barber who all moved away.  But we ended the year with 50 members, which means new members!  We particularly welcome Rev Dr Liz Thomas, Peter Smooi and Callie Lane, who are faithful members.  Liz made the move up to Hogsback at just the right moment, and we give thanks for God’s provision.

We are truly blessed to have people like this joining our congregation, and it can only bode well for the future years at St Patrick’s.

While this past year has been hard for many of us, we need to be prepared for what may be an even more difficult year in 2016/7; certainly it will be tough economically.  Being prepared for Christians is about putting on the whole armour of God so that we are able to withstand Satan’s efforts to dislodge our peace and make us panic and so make unfaithful decisions.  As long as we stick with what God has taught us, and the resources God has given us, we will grow stronger and stronger, and our peace and joy will increase.

I have been thrilled to hear reports from the Monday Prayer Group; what is happening there is truly the work of the Kingdom.  The Tuesday group goes on well.  The annual Retreat has been an amazing blessing to all who have attended.  I commend it to you this year.

I believe that one can take the spiritual ‘temperature’ of a parish by looking at the finances.  We are certainly very healthy and continually glorifying God in the use of our money.  So he keeps blessing us with more!  I do so hope that my vision of a small multi-purpose hall to be used for outreach primarily to children and young people (that is, all under 50!) will be realised.  It will mean that we finally get to serve an important section of our community that has been poorly served up till now.  And we will have a lovely, cosy place for tea in the depths of winter.

As you all know by now, I will be leaving St Patrick’s at the end of May, my last service being the 22nd.
I feel very blessed to be able to say that I have absolutely no worries about doing this because of the way that St Patrick’s is run, and because God has given us a wonderful new priest in the person of Liz Thomas.  Mind you, she will have only a fraction of the time I have had, since she is employed full-time by For Hare.

The team Trevor-and-Ann Webster is amazing.  Trevor is a great Churchwarden and keeps things going super-efficiently, so that people think there is nothing to it.  Believe me, there is plenty that he does.  He would, however, find it extremely difficult to be so good at it without Ann, who sees that everything actually happens, the people are fed, the details are covered and there is music as well!  That is, I suppose, what a good marriage is about – supporting each other all the way.  Thank you from the depths of my heart, Ann and Trevor.

Norma Fivaz is another one who quietly gets on and does a huge amount of work.  She, like Ann, plays for weddings, funerals, services and special occasions.  She arranges the Retreat; she and Ann produce the wonderful Carol Service each year, she preaches and shares leading services with Ann.  She is an unusual person in the Church – an NG member licensed to an Anglican bishop!  Thank you, too, Norma, for your great help and constant support.

Our third Lay Minister is Lynn, who spends much of her time working away from Hogsback, but always slots right back into her liturgical role as soon as she returns.  She is also sadly leaving ST Patrick’s, in April.  Lynn and I have served as a team at both St Peter’s in Camps Bay and St Patrick’s here, and she is a good person to have around.  She has a great pastoral ministry – there are many people who are far more comfortable talking to her than to me.  I value her highly.  I shall particularly miss our Morning and Evening Prayers.  Thank you, Lynn.

This last while we have been very grateful for Ansie Klaassen’s Caritas ministry.  She has been visiting the sick on behalf of the parish, and has even arranged for food to be brought to those who are temporarily unable to see to themselves.  Thank you, Ansie, for this important work.

The Fabric Officer (who oversees the maintenance of the buildings), Sidespeople, Sacristans, flower arrangers (also under Ansie) and our special Carol Nieth who sees to all the weddings, dealing with their complications, also deserve a big thank you.  Carol has also been responsible for having the church cleaned, and we were very sad when Monica Semane, her worker, died at the end of last month.  We made a small donation to the funeral on your behalf. Thank you for seeing to this so faithfully every week, Carol, in spite of your tight schedule at home. 

Thank you, too, to Maggie for keeping our website up-to-date with pictures, and information whenever I remember to send in the pew leaflets!  And Chris Everton who has fixed our driveway and provided labour and gravel when needed, as well as planting for us is a hero.  There are so many others who contribute in many, many ways, and I want you to know how grateful I am to have had the privilege of serving you, and how happy I am to hand over to the new Council with confidence and gratitude.

God has led us this far and we have each grown in grace.  May we continue to grow in obedience and joy in the service of our blessed Lord in 2016 so that the Kingdom of God may find root in many more lives in Hogsback and beyond.

God bless us all.

Margaret Fourie

Lent 5 and Special Farewell to Ven William Fobosi

1 Kings17:1-16
Psalm 124
Galatians 6:7-10
Matt 6: 25-34

Seed Faith

Oral Roberts had this idea of “seed Faith”, which develops Jesus’s words, “Give and it shall be given to you” (Luke 6:38).  He outlined three principles –

1.  God is the source of my supply

In Phil 4:19 St Paul says, “My God will supply all your need out of the magnificence of his riches in Christ Jesus”.  God is the source of all good things, even the technical miracles we boast of nowadays.   “Every good and perfect thing comes from above, from the Father who created the lights of heaven”, says St James (1:17)

Relax, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not ask anxiously, What about food?  What about clothing?  What about the water and electricity?  These are the things that occupy the minds of the HEATHEN, but your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

2. Give and gifts will be given you

There is a difference between the words of Jesus and belief in Karma.  In karma you have control, and what you put out comes back to you in an automatic sort of way, they believe.  Here is something different – there is a loving Person involved.  When Jesus says this, he goes on to add more (Luke 6:38): “give, and gifts will be given you.  Good measure, pressed and shaken down and running over, will be poured into your lap …”  God supplies generously.

Giving ACTIVATES, as it were, God’s programme of supply.  Plant a seed of giving, and it GROWS.  The paradox of supply is that if you are in need, satisfy the need of someone else!  If you need money, give some away to a more needy person. Of you are lonely, help another lonely person.  Your supply will not necessarily come from that person, but it will be there.  Giving then is an ACT OF TRUST, even if you don’t FEEL particularly trusting.  Seed multiplies after it is planted.  If you plant nothing, then 1000 x 0 is 0!  God is the great multiplier of our faithful deeds.

However, what we RECEIVE does not multiply – only our faithful deeds and gifts.  The difference between tithing and seed faith is that seed faith happens BEFORE we receive.  Tithing is returning God’s portion of what we HAVE received to him so that we do not steal from him.

Expect a miracle

Our very expectation is a statement of faith, and it seems that faith has a lot to do with miracles  ( Heb 11:6), (Matt 17:20), (Matt 21:21). (Mark 5:34)
If we were to make a little ‘action plan’, it would be

Surrender – Make sure that Jesus is Lord of all your life, in every part.  Hand over your worries.
Acknowledge – that you owe everything to him, and that he is the source of your supply
Give – make space for the blessing you need
Expect – Act out your faith in confidence (Remember the word ebenezer= hitherto has the Lord helped us.  He will not stop now)

After a while it becomes a life style.

Many don’t receive because they have not made room in their lives for the miracle, and frankly don’t really expect anything miraculous.  So they make a plan B, just in case.

Health – pray for others who are ill; take food to someone suffering; visit or write to them,
Loneliness – be a friend to a lonely person
Finance – give
Busy-ness – pray for others who are busy.  Offer to help someone.
Temptation – pray for others under attack
Study – pray for others studying, writing exams or battling with theses.
Sleeplessness – pray for others awake in the night

Remember the well in Death Valley – pour the whole contents of this bottle into the pump to prime it.  Then you will get as much sweet water as you can ever want.  Just be sure to leave a bottle for the next one.  If you don’t pour ALL the water in, the pump won’t work.  Do you take the risk?

Put ALL your faith and trust in the One who has never yet et anyone down, and who will not start now.