The Franciscan

Easter

April 2007 

St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter

 


St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, 373 Milner Street, Waterkloof, 0181 Tel. +27 12 346 1106/7, Fax: +27 12 346 4226.
http://www.st-francis.co.za/       mail@st-francis.co.za
Clergy:  Fr. Timothy Lowes, Robin Heath, June de Klerk,

Deacons: Martzi Eidelberg, Grant Thistlewhite, Sheila Cave

Youth: Megan Winn; Children’s Church: Heather Napier.


 

 

 

Foreword

This is a bumper issue as it contains important information about the Mission and Ministry Programmes as well details of Parish activities and articles from a wide range of parishioners. Many thanks to those who responded so promptly to my request for an article and those who submitted articles of their own accord – do keep up the good work for the next issue, which will be in July.

 

St Francis has been in the news lately because of Father Timothy’s bell ringing initiative for the Minute of Prayer at Noon against Crime. Read all about it on a dedicated website at www.churchbells.co.za

There are now 43 bells ringing out at midday, but if you are not in hearing distance of one of them, set your cell phone alarm to 12:00 so that you can also be part of this prayer chain.

Jill Daugherty, Editor


Letter from the Rector

My dear Parishioners,

Alleluia! Christ is risen

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia

 

Bishop Brian Germond of Johannesburg, writing in an Ad Clerum in 2003, refers to the book Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels (founder of the Willow Creek Community Church). He specifically makes mention of the incident in which Hybels tells of how, as a college student, he took a required course in NT studies in order to complete his degree – a course so boring that he thought its greatest challenge would be to stay awake in class. But at the end of the first lecture, the professor stepped out from behind the lectern and said:

 

Students, there was once a community of believers who were so totally devoted to God, that their life together was charged with the Spirit’s power. In that band of Christ followers, believers loved each other with a radical kind of love. They took off their masks and shared their lives with each other… Those who had more, shared freely with those who had less, until socio-economic barriers melted away. People related together in ways that bridged gender and racial chasms, and celebrated cultural differences… This church offered unbelievers a vision of life that was so beautiful, it took their breath away… And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Bishop Brian goes on to say that Hybels acknowledged that those words, which were as much a lament as a dream, seized him so powerfully that he found himself asking, “What if a true community of God could be established in the 20th century?” The answer (for him and for us) is that such a church would transform the world.

 

Such thinking makes it abundantly clear that “Vision” is a core ingredient of any successful “Project” – and in this Easter Franciscan article I’d like us to re-focus our attention on the Diocesan Vision of Mission, Ministry and Evangelism (full text opposite) and more specifically on the vision and strategy planning programme of the Archdeacon-ry of Pretoria East, as they are in fact complementary.

 

Let me begin by highlighting our own (St Francis of Assisi) Vision and Mission statements as well as that of the Archdeaconry as a whole:

 

Vision: A Christ-centred community living in love and obedience to God.

Mission: An Anglican Christian community seeking to express our faith through our life together and our engagement with the world through worship, caring, giving, prayer, reconciliation, witness and discipleship.

 

Archdeaconry Vision: To have Christ-centred communities steeped in Anglican Spirituality.

Archdeaconry Mission: To empower all lay and ordained members of these communities to strive for and achieve these ideals through the processes of teaching, learning and practising.

 

From the above Vision and Mission statements it is clear that we are looking at the empowering of the laity in the parishes – the priesthood of all believers.

 

The Strategy of the Archdeaconry is to ensure that the entire Pretoria East Anglican Community buys into the vision and understands it and in doing so embraces the Mission, Ministry and Evangelism programme. We wish to develop an effective teaching strategy which will reach every member in all the parishes. We must ensure that excellent communication exists between Archdeacon and Rectors and that this chain of communication then continues. We want to help communities understand that they are part of the Diocesan Vision, must look for and be aware at all times of opportunities for growth in the mission field and must foster a spirit of generosity.

 

Throughout the Archdeaconry we have encouraged parishes to begin their Mission and Evangelism programme in the following ways(this being the first phase of the vision/strategy): 

o        Run a Lent Course on the theme “Love thy Neighbour”.

o        Organise a “Bring a Family member/Friend to Church” campaign to invite those who do not usually attend, and to repeat this at various times during the year if the need is felt.

o        Hold a function that identifies all new members to the Church for the past two years, including the newly baptised.

o        Implement a visiting scheme to reach people on the parish roll, focussing firstly on those who are not very involved in the life of the church, the newly wed, the newly baptised and recent confirmands (include the Youth where appropriate).

o        Organise a Youth/Parent and Parish Council gathering - which is also in line with the Siyafundisa project that we are encouraging in the Archdeaconry.

o        Encourage within the parish “chain-meals” whereby a family invites one family known to them and one family not known to them to a meal. The two families that have been invited can do likewise and so on. This will enable parishioners to get to know one another.

o        Encourage their members to attend the special diocesan convention on mission and evangelism during Trinity. And to attend the workshops arranged by the diocese on Anglican Liturgy and the promotion of cultural expression in worship.

o        Engage in mission initiatives with ecumenical partners, especially during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

o        Embrace and explore the Anglican traditions of spirituality and Christian piety by attending a retreat once a year.

 

We feel that by touching the people in the parishes and encouraging them in activities to get to know each other better this will foster ‘good-will’. Each member in turn will pass this on to people who are lapsed Anglicans or people on the fringes, who will become involved in church activities.

 

At this Season of Easter, as we have made our way through the Lenten period and examined ourselves in preparation for Easter, we look for ways to reach out and be active in the missionary areas of our parish life and beyond. Let us strive at St Francis of Assisi, to be the light and life of Jesus Christ and really make a difference in the Parish and Archdeaconry as a whole, and as we go forward to promote the Mission, Ministry and Evangelism programme.  Surely, the ripple effect will be felt throughout the community and the lives of people will be changed forever.

 

May you have a “Resurrection light-filled” Easter and year.


Fr Timothy


Renovations at St Francis

 

About a year ago I spoke to our Churchwarden, Bev Nauhaus, about the state of the church hall – curtains had been taken down, there were little piles of things building up, and a general cry for some TLC. After a few days she came back to me and said PLEASE START. Little did we know the journey God would take us on for the next year.

 

For the first few weeks we interviewed everyone about what they needed, and then we stood around looking for inspiration on how to fulfil these needs. One of the things that bothered us was the various heights of all the doors, so we needed to unify that, as well as add some unity to the various buildings that had been joined together over the years, but with different styles and bricks. We needed to add facilities for the disabled, not only toilet facilities but a small meeting room – the classrooms and the prayer room on the stage are inaccessible for wheelchairs. To do this we would need to level the floors and, as the floors were in a shocking condition, would need to refloor the hall anyway.

 

That was the simple beginning, but as we listened to God so things grew. We felt that a cloister was important, so we searched the internet and books to get a feel for that, hence arches began to play a role. I had mentioned a church in New Zealand that served proper coffee and muffins between services and meals on certain days, and confirmation for that just poured in. I had coffee with a parishioner the next day and, not knowing of our plan, she proceeded to tell me how she had always wanted a Christian coffee shop to which to take friends who needed ministry, with Christian music and a sense of peace and God's presence. That same weekend one Sunday newspaper carried a whole article on Rick Wakeman (Purpose Driven Life) who talked about the coffee shop on their premises and how people were ministered to there. So we started talking about creating a wheelchair friendly space that could be used for meetings, Alpha courses, funeral teas for small numbers, and a "coffee shop" occasionally. For clarity of knowing which side of the hall we were referring to, we called one side Cafe Cloister – not only did the name stick, but people overwhelmed us with their enthusiasm for the idea.

 

We needed an architect – this had gone beyond a TLC job and plans needed to be drawn for the toilets – and so we approached Martin Klasse, with whom Colette Donkin had worked. He came with great enthusiasm and I would stand in awe as he presented the ideas God was giving us in solid form. In the middle of last year we presented this model (idea) to the Executive, the Council and the congregation with overwhelming support.

 

At the time we were speaking to three builders. Unbeknown to us, just before we presented our model to the congregation, a new couple had joined our church. After this presentation they wrote to the church office and asked if they could quote on this project. Since that time they have been involved in renovating the Rectory, but amazingly by the time the plans were passed by the Diocese, the municipality etc., all the other builders became unavailable. No matter how hard we tried, no one else was prepared to step up to the plate, and so we accepted that this was the builder that God intended and the Executive entered into negotiations.

 

There have been many other instances of God’s presence. We went off to purchase one door that we had been told about and were promptly given a second door. We spoke to someone about small stained glass windows and the person offered to donate them. The number of times we have seen God's hand at work are too numerous to mention – but what an exciting year it has been for us.

 

Although the Council have agreed to pay for the basic building, we have agreed to raise money for those beautiful extras – art doors, stained glass windows, water features, furnishings, coffee pots, etc, so please come on board and help us. Your generosity will be the difference between everyday and awesome – plain wooden doors or works of art, metal tables and black chairs in the coffee shop area or special tables for four that can be rearranged for various occasions, Ricoffy from the kitchen urn or "real" coffee percolating in the corner. The real difference will be a normal functional church hall or a place with a sense of silent ministry and evangelism to all who come there.

 

So now the work has begun and we look forward to sharing this space with you. From the beginning we hoped to create a "Spirituality of Place" and we sincerely hope that this is it. This hall is part of our lives. We not only celebrate the church festivities here – Christmas parties, Lent courses, confirmation teas, Shrove Tuesday, but also many of us have celebrated birthdays, wedding anniversaries, weddings, funeral teas and many other occasions here. Our children have gathered here weekly for Sunday School, Youth, confirmation classes – in fact most of their training in Christianity has taken place here. It needs to be a special place, not only for us, but also for those who come in the future.

Heatherlynn Lewis


D-CAMP LETTERS

 

Wow! The New Year has started and what a great year it’s going to be. Every day is going to be filled with action and adventure because they all end with 007. We ended 2006 with a sad farewell to Liz who gave her all to the youth for the last seven years. It was so sad to see her go and all the youth at St Francis are going to miss her. But luckily I had a wonderful teacher and, without her guidance over the last seven years, I would not have been able to accept the Youth leader position.

 

I have an amazing committee this year, who have decided to get serious and work hard in encouraging the youth to develop a relationship with God and to be an example to everyone around them. The Committee consists of Amy Harris, Jon-Reece Evans, Kate Lowes, Kayleigh Hill, Lorenzo Negri, Megan Lowes, Robert Fourie, Tlhabi Tlailane, Traci Adam and Wesley Hill. Ending the year with a good Christian camp (thank-you all for your generous donations which funded our trip), every one is excited to light others on fire for the Lord.

 

Let me first start by telling you about the December Leadership Training Camp aka D-Camp. D-Camp 2006 started on 2 December and that morning we met at Brooklyn Methodist Church at 06:30. We got to Skogheim in Port Shepstone without any hitches (which was nothing short of a miracle if any of you remember that last year it took us 14 hours to get to camp).  When we arrived it was raining so we were running to our rooms with our luggage in the rain. In the evening after an amazing dinner we all congregated in the hall for a welcome and to discover what the theme was all about.

 

The theme this year was eLevate. Our t-shirt logo was ‘we are not the future. This is quite a statement to make and very contradictory to what we have been taught our whole lives. After reading this we were all excited to find out what was ahead. We soon discovered the L in elevate was the foundation for the 4 days – Lingo, Love, Loyalty and Light – and as Christian leaders we need to work on these in ourselves in order to set an example to the youth and those around us. The main statement of we are not the future meant that all the youth are living for the future and for tomorrow, but we need to live for today and do things right today. If we live for today, everything we do will be our best and it will all be for God, as we will leave nothing to be forgiven or fixed tomorrow. The main Bible text was:

 

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (l Timothy 4:12)

 

We had lots of time to sit together as Oasis Youth to visualize and plan for 2007! Sunday was Lingo day which was all about our Language and what we say about others. Lingo is a reflection about who we are as people. For the rest of camp every time someone said something rude to someone else, chants of “Lingo” were echoed throughout camp. On Monday it was about Love and everything God did for us was because of the Love He had for us. Tuesday was Loyalty day, when we are loyal, and are called to act, we respond with a commitment and a passion for that calling. Wednesday’s topic was Light for Life and the Fruits of the Spirit.

 

Wednesday evening was the long awaited formal dinner, Oscars! Not surprisingly … we have the best-dressed lady among us: Tlhabi Tlailane and the best-dressed man went to Stuart Cameron from Brooklyn Methodist. Thursday was home time and unfortunately we once again had trouble with the combis. A friendly youth pastor from Lyttelton helped us out so we could get home safely.

 

Throughout the week we learnt many different skills as different workshops were run daily. These included clowning, ballooning, camping, worship, evangelism, small group facilitation, effective listening and many more. Since D-Camp our first term has been packed with Fun and learning, ending our term with Ice-skating and a Pool party. Roll on the second term!

Megan Winn

 

D-Camp was a phenomenal experience for me. It opened up my eyes and heart to the importance of being a Christian and living for God in today’s busy world. D-Camp taught me how every word, every action, every thought, every promise and every day should reflect God’s love, and turn our love to our neighbours. It taught me to cherish every moment and to live life to the fullest with God by my side. The power of prayer is so profound, and each one of us is unique in our abilities and our dreams, and should use prayer that reflects this unique self. God is great and almighty, and He hears every word we utter in silence or in song, and He opens our hearts to his reply. D-Camp showed me that I must not be afraid of prayer, but should embrace this time to share with my Father. It showed me that I should encourage others to pray as well, and believe in the power of prayer. D-Camp showed me that we are indeed not the future, we are the now, and we should elevate ourselves to be the beautiful people God created us to be.                                                                                                       

Megan Lowes

 

This is the third D-camp that I have attended and as usual it blew my mind. It’s not like other Christian camps I’ve been on; this camp really pokes at your heart and makes no one but you decide once and for all that Jesus Christ is the only way to live your life.

By attending the camp as a church committee, we learnt to trust each other in problems that we never would have thought to share before. We grew spiritually as a church. The camp was a spiritual lifter after a hectic year. We are not the church of tomorrow, But the church of today!

                                       Amy Harris

 

This was the second year that I have been on D-camp and it was another wonderful year to try out a new IDT (in-depth training). This year I chose Sugar-‘n-spice which was strictly GIRLS ONLY! I had a chance to learn how to become a woman of Christ. It taught me the power of being a woman using what God gave me to empower other women in Christ as well. It showed me that although women in the Bible are portrayed as inferior to men, it is in fact not so. I was shown that as women we were the backbone of the Bible. We are not the women of the Future; we are the women of now! D-camp was as always an awesome experience that left me with many great memories and a heart that is closer to God. I thank the church for allowing us to go and Megan Winn for making it happen. Thank-you!                                                                                            

Kate Lowes

 

Lingo, Love, Loyalty and Light.

Help me to find a path that’s right.

I feel so confused like an ocean tide,

Lord I need to feel you by my side.

You know my shame, though I hide.

 

Drugs, Sex and Alcohol,

All the things that taint my soul,

Affect my heart, try take control.

I try to scream, I try to shout,

I try to find the easy way out.

You know my shame, why do I hide?

 

From the ash I am the Phoenix.

First place I am the victor.

Shackles broken free.

Let the world know the true me.

No more shame, no need to feel lame

Naked for all to see, No need to hide.

For I have You by my side.

Tlhabi Tlailane


Back to top                      Contents

 

 

Contents

Foreword

Letter from the Rector

Diocesan Mission & Ministry Programme

 Renovations at St Francis

 D-Camp Letters

 God who Made the Pomegranate

 The Fourth Wise Man

 The Carpenter


Diocese of Pretoria

Epiphany: Sunday 07 January 2007

Launching the

3-Year Mission & Ministry

Programme

 

Mission Statement: to grow as a Christ-centred Church so that each parish can support a rector and become a forming centre of spirituality, mission and ministry

 

From the Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Johannes Seoka

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

And you will be my witnesses – Acts 1:8

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Today we have the public launch of our 3 Year Mission Campaign in the diocese. We are beginning a journey during which we will follow the road map chartered by the Commission on Mission and Ministry under the leadership of Prof Barney Pityana. It promises to be an exciting journey and it is my wish and expectation that all of us in the Diocese will be involved and travel the road together.

 

This process is a response to a very clear challenge we received during our last Diocesan Synod. We believe the challenge was for us not only to pay lip service to our calling to bear witness to Christ, but also to do so in a consistent and coordinated manner.

 

I do not need to remind you of the great task that rests on our shoulders during these days in the history of our world. People are groping for signs of assurance. The Church of God is such a sign. One person had the following to say about the story of Noah and the great flood: Noah was the only man to keep his company afloat when the rest of the world was in liquidation!

 

This sums up our calling as a church to a large degree. We are about bringing hope to people who live in fear of being overcome and liquidated by economic, political and social disasters.

 

The plan we will follow over the next 3 years will enable us to be involved and grow in 3 areas – Renewal of Parish Life; Discipleship and Vocations; and The Church’s Witness in the World

 

Over these next 3 years we will remind ourselves that the days are past when foreign missionaries carried the word with heroic enthusiasm. We will train ourselves to bear witness to Christ with the same enthusiasm and sacrifice displayed by those who first spread the message of the Saviour so that, through us, the Church of God may continue to fulfil its high calling of bearing witness to our Lord Jesus.

 

We cannot fail to take this task seriously otherwise we, as a church, have no reason to exist. And so I invite you all – the people of God in the Diocese – to embrace this programme and to be united in this task over the next 3 years. May God through his love and faithfulness empower our witness to be a transforming agent in our homes and family life, our communities, and into our world of work and strikes and into all areas of our lives and aspirations so that, instead of fear of “liquidation”, we may move forward in confidence and faith in God’s presence and providence. It is my prayer that e may all discover, appropriate and enjoy the real, full and abundant life which Jesus promises to those who love him and respond to his call.

 

Yours in the love and service of our Lord,

 

+ Jo Pretoria

 

The Plan

 

The Renewal of Parish Life

7 January 2007, Epiphany – The Official Launch of Our Mission Programme – Services to focus on the Launch and sermons be preached on “And you will be my witnesses” – Acts 1:8

(i)      Lent 2007 – Every Parish to conduct a parish mission campaign during Lent 2007 in which:

o        the focus of the mission campaign be first and foremost that Anglicans bring any within their own families who are lapsed Anglicans back into the fold;

o        everyone who has been on the Parish Roll during the last five years receives a pastoral visit, as well as all who have been confirmed during the last five years be visited (John 1:41).

(ii)    3 June 2007, Trinity – There will be a special diocesan convention on mission and evangelism during Trinity tide 2007;

(iii)   Trinity to Advent 2007

o        The Diocese will arrange workshops on Anglican Liturgy and also other opportunities to promote the cultural expression of worship;

o        Parishes will be encouraged to embrace and explore the Anglican  traditions of spirituality and Christian piety by attending a retreat once a year; and

o        Parishes will be encouraged to engage in mission initiatives with ecumenical partners especially during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Discipleship and Vocations
Lent 2008 – Parishes will be encouraged to engage in teaching about the Nature of the Church and her Ministers – i.e. the Ministry of All Believers

(i)      Trinity 2008 – Further Opportunities for growth and study:

  • Archdeaconry Meetings to study the Report of the Commission on Mission and Ministry at their regular meetings.
  • Parishioners will be encouraged to attend Workshops on Prayer, Worship & Fasting (and other Christian disciplines).

(ii)    August/September 2008 – Archdeaconry Meetings will be asked to assess the Mission Programme at their meeting during the last quarter of the year.

(iii)   Diocesan Seminar on public issues. The seminar will bring to the fore all the critical issues that the church should guide the faithful in their lives of seeking to express the Christian faith daily. The seminar will also inform the church’s official position on all critical matters of public ethics and moral life.

 

The Church’s Witness in the World

(i)      Lent 2009 – Parishes will be encouraged to engage in teaching on Responding to the Needs of the World

(ii)    Post Lent 2009 – The Annual Diocesan Seminar, focussing especially on Lambeth Synod Issues.

(iii)   Trinity 2009 – Parishes to develop programmes so as to meaningfully respond to the social development issues confronting the diocese, rural development, poverty alleviation, HIV and AIDS, care for the elderly, homeless children, the mentally disabled, to coordinate and advise parish responses to social breakdown and establish the parish as the centre for community care.

(iv)  Diocesan Links: Parishes, Archdeaconries and Organisations to work on strategies to make our Companion Links more effective

(v)    Pre-Advent 2009 – Diocesan Convention celebrating the 3-year programme on Mission and Ministry.


GOD WHO MADE THE POMEGRANATE

 

I have always been fascinated by the pomegranate. The name comes from the Latin Pomum granatum (in classical Latin Malum granatum) meaning an apple full of seeds, while the botanical name is Punica granatum (from Punicus, meaning Phoenician or red).

 

When I was a small girl, I loved to dig the spoon in between the kernels, each enclosed in a tasty reddish pulp, and extract the refreshing winelike juice. Little did I know that one day I would have a pomegranate tree growing in my garden. I can lie in bed and see the pomegranates hanging in profusion from the branches or I can stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes and contemplate the beauty and wonder of God’s creation in a pomegranate tree!

 

Pomegranates are a very biblical fruit. They grew in Galilee in great abundance and were prominent in Palestinian art. They were carved on the capitals of the pillars of Solomon’s Temple and ornamental pomegranates adorned the hems of the high priest’s robes. They appeared on the silver shekel of Jerusalem struck in Maccabean times (143–135 BC). The Hebrew word for pomegranate is rimmon and so we have the city of Rimmon in Judah, mentioned in the Book of Joshua, as well as Gath-rimmon.

 

At the Open Door  Retreat that I attended a few years ago, we were asked to bring a symbol of what the retreat had meant to us. I chose the pomegranate as my symbol. The pomegranate spoke to me of Community – each little segment of the fruit packed with single seeds in their protective covering, each segment forming a community and drenched in the syrup – for me, symbolic of the Holy Spirit which binds us all together, the whole being protected by the hard outer rind. In due season, or more biblically, in the fullness of time, the hard outer covering bursts open with the force from within, the birds feast on the contents and the seed is scattered abroad to bring forth a new harvest the following year – the Community going forth to spread God’s word. Maybe for you it has other symbolism – Christ bursting from the tomb and bringing New Life to all.

 

As I write this, there are only two pomegran-ates left on the tree. I shall miss them, but next year there will be a new crop. Isn’t it amazing that God who made the pomegranate also made me – and you!

June de Klerk


THE FOURTH WISE MAN

(from William BARCLAY : The Gospel of Mark)

 

One of the loveliest of all stories is the story of the Fourth Wise Man. His name was Artaban. He set out to follow the star and he took with him a sapphire, a ruby and a pearl beyond price as gifts for the King. He was riding hard to meet his three friends, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, at the agreed meeting place. The time was short; they would leave if he was late. Suddenly he saw a dim figure on the ground before him. It was a traveller stricken with fever. If he stayed to help he would be too late. He did stay; he helped and healed the man. But now he was alone. He needed camels and bearers to help him across the desert because he had missed his friends and their caravan. He had to sell his sapphire to get them because he had helped the man. And he was sad that the King would never have his gem.

 

So he journeyed and in due time he came to Palestine and to Bethlehem, but again he was too late. Joseph and Mary and the baby had gone. Then there came the soldiers to carry out Herod’s command that the children should be slain. Artaban was lodging in a house where there was a little child he had come to love. The tramp of the soldiers was at the door; the weeping of stricken mothers could be heard. Artaban stood in the doorway, tall and dark. He had the ruby in his hand. When the captain came Artaban bribed him with his ruby not to enter. The child was saved; the mother was overjoyed; the ruby was gone; and Artaban was sad for, as he thought, the King would never have his ruby now.

 

For years he wandered looking for the king. More than thirty years afterwards he came to Jerusalem. There was a crucifixion that day. And when Artaban heard of this Jesus who was being crucified He sounded wondrous like the King. He was going out to Calvary. Maybe his pearl, the loveliest pearl in all the world, could buy the life of the King. Down the street there came a girl fleeing from a band of soldiers. “My father is in debt,” she cried, “and they are taking me to sell me as a slave to pay the debt. Save me!” Artaban hesitated; then sadly he took out his pearl, gave it to the soldiers, bought the girl’s freedom and she was safe.

 

Then on a sudden the skies were dark; there as an earthquake and a flying tile hit Artaban on the head. He sank half-conscious to the ground. The girl pillowed his head on her lap. Suddenly his lips began to move. “Not so, my Lord. For when saw I Thee anhungered and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When say I Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked and clothed Thee? When saw I Thee sick in prison, and came unto Thee? Thirty and three years have I looked for Thee; but I have never seen Thy face, nor ministered to Thee, my King.” And then like a whisper from very far away, there came low and sweet voice. “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.” And Artaban smiled in death because he knew that the King had received his gifts.

Submitted by Ponty Thuynsma


THE CARPENTER

 

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife and his extended family. They would miss the pay cheque, but he needed to retire and they would get by.

 

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he would build just one more house, as a personal favour. The carpenter said yes, but in time one could see his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

 

The carpenter finished the work and his employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, ‘my gift to you.’ The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

 

So it is with us. We build our lives a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building and with a shock we realise we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over we would do it much differently. We cannot go back. You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board or erect a wall. Life is a do-it-yourself project: your attitude and the choices you make today build the ‘house’ you live in tomorrow.

Charlotte Snell

 


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