HOMOPHOBIA & THE CHURCH IN AFRICA
Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa – 7 & 8 April 2016
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader (Nokulunga Mjwara): Sisters and brothers, open your hearts,
For faith has come,
And in faith you are set free.
Free, not to mind your words,
But to speak the truth in love.
Free, not to look up at some,
And down at others,
But to look kindly eye to eye.
Free, not to close your senses,
But to feel clearly the pain of others,
And to take it to yourself.
So clothe yourself in Christ-
With the fashion of the heirs of promise.
And praise God.1
All:We respond by promising to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.
Leader (NM): Let us pray
All: All mighty God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We give you praise and hearty thanks for all your goodness and tender mercies. We bless you for love which has created and does sustain us from day to day. We praise you for the gift of your Son, our saviour, through whom you have made your will and grace. We thank you for the Holy Spirit, for the means of grace, for the lives of all faithful and Godly people, and the hope of the life of all. Help us treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has done for us, and enable us to show our thankfulness by lives that are given wholly to your service.
Biblical Reflections (NIV) – Rev. Judith Kotze
Ephesians 2: 8 -10. New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
All: HYM: Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T’was Grace that taught,
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear,
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come.
Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.
We’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
than when we’ve first begun.
Leader (NM): Let us observe a moment of silence (30 seconds) and commit to be agents of change.
All: The path before will be steep and difficult to climb; it may be gravelly and dry. We will likely stumble on our way. We will surely encounter strangers in new ideas, different beliefs, and new visons for the common good. We commit ourselves in this gathering to an intense humanness in the hope that those most marginalised also will empower themselves to speak out of their own experiences and lead us in solidarity. With the disruptive persistence of the prophets and dogged devotion of the world’s great mystics and sages, may we be emboldened to no longer see people and the planet as objects to satisfy our own needs but as essential members of our family. The time is here to walk the talk, embody the statements and join together as agents of change.
Leader (Rev. Gift Moerane): Gracious God thank you that you have reminded us today that we are ALL heirs of your Reign created in your image, in all our diversity, and deserving of your grace. Hear our prayer oh God.
All: Lord in your mercy
Leader (GM): Transforming God, you have also reminded us today that we must display the courage to transform unjust systems and beliefs that cause harm. We are mindful of how difficult this is sometimes, and the risk we take in challenging injustice. And so, we pray for strength as we become agents of change and transformation. Hear our prayer oh God.
All: Lord in your mercy
Leader (GM): Gracious God thank you that you have shown us that your grace and your healing is always available when we have faith and persevere. We are mindful of those who are unwell in body, mind and spirit and feel despondent and hopeless. We pray that you will help us persevere safe in the knowledge that we always have hope in you. Hear our prayer oh God.
All: Lord in your mercy
Hymn: Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and king,
The triumphs of His grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease—
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.
He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin,
He sets the pris’ner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
He speaks, and, list’ning to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.
Leader (GM): Let us say a blessing
All: May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortunes
and rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
from this day forward. Amen