Sunday, 29 April 2018

Sunday sermon: The blessing of oil - Norma Fivaz

Blessings:   When you receive a blessing, it strengthens your faith and is an encouragement in your walk with God. However, if you pass on that blessing, it becomes a DOUBLE blessing.

A personal experience in the lead up to today's service:

I asked myself what I should give up for Lent. It is easy to give up something quantifiable, like chocolates, but I decided to give up time, half and hour each morning, meeting my Heavenly Father,  sitting with Him, being quiet and enjoying Him. Waiting for Him to give me my agenda for the day. Reading my Streams in the Desert daily reading. 

One morning, about 2 weeks ago, I started reading. The topic of Oil and it's uses in the Bible came up in a short reading. I pondered on this, being quiet, waiting for God to speak, and it was unbelievable how so much came to mind. I started reading wider than the Daily reading, finding cross references in my Study Bible, and it was just as if God was giving me a whole lesson in the significance and symbolism of OIL .

When Trevor asked me last week, whether Ann and I could take the service this morning, I thought again about that amazing early morning time that I had two weeks ago.

I said to God:  “If today's set reading have any reference to oil, I will have the assurance that this message comes directly from you, LORD, and I will listen carefully to what You want me to convey”.

I opened the Lectionary book at today's date, and the Morning prayer section was about the ceremony of being anointed with oil. I had goose bumps....

There are many references in the Bible to the use of oil.....think for a couple of minutes, if you can recall any one of these......

The meaning of Oil in the Bible     

Read OT       Lev 8: 1-13
         NT       Matt  25:1-13

If we take the first 5 letters of the alphabet, ABCDE, it can serve as a guideline for us. 

A:    1. Anointing
Anointing oil is mentioned 20 x in Scripture. It was an ancient ceremony, used in the OT for pouring oil on the head of the high priest, as well as sprinkling the tabernacle and it's furnishings to mark them as holy =  set apart.

The recipe for anointing oil is found in Ex 30: contained myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, cassia, fragrant cane which was then mixed with olive oil.

What was the significance of all these instructions? Was there special power in this oil mixture?

-      the strictness of guidelines to be followed in preparing the oil, was a test of obedience to God
-      also for them to realize that they were serving a holy God....a God who expects them to live a holy life.....a life set apart to the glory of God

2.     Atonement
A difficult word or concept, as it is not an every day word....if we break down the word in it's syllables, at-one-ment, … be made ONE with God, to remove what hinders us from being one with becomes more understandable.

In other words, the ceremony of anointing with oil, was the symbol of being make pure, holy, set apart, before you enter the house of God (tabernacle), or doing work for God.

We serve a holy God, and He expects His people (you and me, who want to serve and honor Him)
to be clean, pure, holy ….. no hindrances between you and God, when we take that step of serving Him. Whole-heartedly. Not only we have time, or when we feel like it....NO, ALL THE TIME.
B.   Be ready.......Have oil in your lamps     Matt 25    Oil in this instance, was olive oil, which had been used in the time of Jesus, for providing light.

In today's context, we may modernize the parable by saying.....we run out of fuel, even in this day and age, when modern technology warns us, when the fuel levels get low.....we still sometimes get caught out. A real situation.

What Jesus was referring to, was that we don't know the day and hour, of His return.
See this reading in context. Jesus speaks about the fig tree, (Matt 24:32)....lesson being: we should watch the times and circumstances, and get our house in order when there is still time of grace...

Matt 24: 36 --- Jesus tells about remaining watchful.

So three times in a row, Jesus emphasises the importance of utilizing the time of GRACE, while we still have an opportunity to:    - come to the Father
-      ask for forgiveness
-      live daily according to His will
The oil of being ready.

I also read into this parable another meaning of Being ready.
-      ready to serve
-      ready with your friendship when you become aware of a need
-      ready with a smile, an encouraging word

Do you have the capacity of being ready? Enough fuel, so to speak, of being ready?

C.    Oil of Compassion and Care              Mark 14:3-9
The woman that took fragrant oil to massage Jesus' feet......showing Him her compassion and care, for what He was about to go through in the following couple of days.....

D. Paying our debt.....oil of provision:    II Kings 4:1-7   The widow's Oil

Elisha was called to the home of a widow, whose husband had been a co-worker of Elisha. The husband had died, and his wife had been left with nothing except a little oil.

A wonderful account of how the oil did not run out, until all the jars were filled.
And Elisha told her....v 7 “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left”.

The oil of God's provision

Jesus has paid for our debts on the cross....but He also wants to provide daily in our every day needs....if we allow Him to guide us. If we live close to Him and listen each moment to His voice. We will never ever lack anything.

E. Life giving oil …...Everlasting Life   I Kings 7-24    The widow at Zarephath
 Elijah:  Elijah fed by the ravens - –  The Lord sent Elijah to the coastal town of Zarephath on the Mediterranean Sea. There Elijah went to this widow and asked for water first, and then as an after thought, Elijah added, “and a piece of bread”.  This poor widow was on her last handful of flour and a little bit of oil.

BUT …..she was obedient, and gave of the little that she had. …...Elijah responded to her by saying: “ the jar of flour will not be used up, and the jug of oil will not run dry.....” God's provision through the symbol of oil.

But it didn't end here.

The son of this widow, then became ill and died. The widow's first instinct was anger, and she blamed Elijah for what had come over her.

V 19: “Give me your son.....v 20 Elijah cried out to God....and begged that the boy's life return to him.

God was faithful and raised this son from the dead.

God gives life.... not only here on earth, but everlasting life!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Vestry meeting and Reports

On Sunday 22 of April, we had our Vestry meeting after the morning service. Liz our beloved rector briefly presented her report during the service. During the meeting the following people were again been chosen to serve on the church council:
Trevor Webster (Warden), Quinton Dick (Treasurer), Norma Van Niekerk, Carol Neith, Maggie Verster, Helen Fox, Ann Webster, Mark Keasie and of course our rector, Liz Thomas.

To download the following documents, click on the given links:

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Notice of Vestry Meeting

Reminder Notice that the Vestry Meeting of St Patrick’s Chapel will be held on Sunday 22 April 2018 after the Service at 10am in the chapel. Vestry is the annual general meeting of the congregation and will be chaired by the Chapel Priest, Rev Liz Thomas.  

Council reports will be made by the Chapel Warden, Trevor Webster, and the Council Treasurer, Quinton Dick. An election of Councillors for the incoming year will be held for Chapel Warden, Alternate Chapel Warden, Treasurer and 6 Councillors.  An Auditor will be elected. All are welcome.

Sermon: Breakfast on the beach

Reading: John 21:1-14

What is your favourite meal of the day?  Ours is breakfast - we give it no thought!  It is so good to receive with no effort.  This was what happened on the beach when Jesus made the breakfast - he saves us in the same way, by grace and without our effort!  But I hope that we do seek to understand more? The other thing about breakfast is that I pray at that time - are you spiritually hungry?  We are invited to a meal with Jesus, the communion.  And regular provision.

Peter was! He was eager to get to Jesus, the RISEN LORD - what of us?  Jesus had become the centre of his life - he was saved, so called God's child (Jn 21:4). What a contrast with his call (Lk 5:8), when meeting with Jesus was terrifying - he knew that he was a sinner. If we are not saved, God is indeed terrifying (Heb 12:29). Do we run from Jesus because of our sin?

Peter had tried to go back to his previous life, which was fishing, but it could never satisfy again.  The miracle must have reminded him of the time when he was called, he was sent to fish people (Lk 5:10).  We likewise can be reminded of the time when we committed to God, and that will help us

When they got to the beach, they saw Jesus' provision.  What an abundant supply - 153 fish!  They had been made by God, brought to them by God, the creator and provider, but collected by people.  Does God have more blessing for us?  They were told to put their net on the RIGHT side - we will only be blessed if we are obedient.

The fish had to be cooked before they ate, using the coals and fire that God made.  And at the communion, people need to act; the bread and wine are created, but need to be prepared by people.  The fire must also have reminded of the coming Spirit, enabling their service.

Peter met Jesus
            He was SAD because he was confronted by the past, his failure, sin and denial. Likewise we disappoint God, but like him, we receive God's grace.
            He was SENT, commissioned for the future.  "Feed my sheep" (three times - John 21:15,16,17)
            But then he was promised SUFFERING, he would glorify God in giving his life (John 21:19).

Jesus invited them and us to "Come and have breakfast"
                        He provides for His children (Jn 21:5)
                        is it a long time since you knew blessing?
                        Enjoy the RISEN LORD!?

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)